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Chrysler to buy back vehicles, pay fine for mishandling recalls

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been slapped with a record $105 million fine for what federal safety regulators call the mishandling of 23 recalls.

The automakers will also have to submit to rigorous federal oversight and offer to buy back some defective vehicles from owners.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been pressing the automaker over its handling of recalls for years and agency officials say the penalties against Chrysler are unprecedented.

The enforcement comes after a hearing on July 2, where the NHTSA outlined problems with Fiat Chrysler’s execution of 23 recalls affecting more than 11 million defective vehicles.

Since then, the automaker has admitted to violations in three areas: effective and timely recall remedies, notification to vehicle owners and dealers, and notifications to NHTSA.

Earlier this year, in April, Fiat Chrysler posted a video on it’s vehicle recall page outlining it’s procedures for safety and security.

“My colleagues and I at FCA take this very seriously and embrace our duty to expedite these actions,” Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President at Chrysler Auto Group LLC, said in the video.

But in the NHTSA’s statement following the settlement, the agency said, “Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customer, and the driving public, at risk.”

The $105 million in fines is just the beginning. In an effort to “re-establish the trust” with Fiat Chrysler customers, the automaker will now offer to buy back more than a half million vehicles with defective suspension parts that could cause the vehicle to lose control. Those include several models of 2008 to 2012 Ram trucks, 2009 to 2011 Dodge Dakotas, 2009 Chrysler Aspen trucks, and 2009 Dodge Durango trucks. The recall ID’s in those cases are 13V-038, 13V-527, 13V-529.

They’ll also offer a trade-in opportunity above market value or cash incentives to get repairs for more than a million Jeep owners.

Fiat Chrysler leaders say owners of affected vehicles will be notified, but you can contact your dealer with questions.

You can also read the full consent order below: