Ferrari was fined $3.5 million for failing to file “early warning reports,” which are designed to identify safety issues with the vehicles to the safety regulators within the United States. The car maker, which operates under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ watchful eye, was hit with a major fine by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The fine was announced on Friday, ending a rough week for the automakers.
Fiat has been selling cars in the United States since 2011, and that was when Ferrari first became required to file these quarterly reports which indicate safety issues, but also report accidents, injuries, and even fatalities related to their vehicles. Prior to that, the company operated under a “small-volume manufacturer” stipulation, which allowed the company to not file any of those reports.
However, when Fiat came to the United States in 2011 Ferrari was brought along for the regulatory ride and forced to submit to the guidelines and stipulations. Now, the company has admitted that they violated those laws. The company failed to submit all of the required reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over that three-year-period, and even avoided reporting three fatal accidents.
This exposes an already rocky and tumultuous climate that automakers are a part of as more, and more recalls come in, and expose a growing problem in the industry. This underscores the growing issue that is a lack of accountability, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said as much in a statement he released following the confirmation that laws were violated. “There is no excuse for failing to follow laws created to keep drivers safe, and our aggressive enforcement action today underscore the point that all automakers will be held accountable if they fail to do their part in our mission to keep Americans safe on the road.”
The cars are obviously a part of a different market though. Just over 2,000 were sold in 2013, and that was the best news the company had received regarding their ability to continue functioning in their known way. Fiat announced that they would be spinning off Ferrari as a larger five-year expansion plan, goaled at ultimately funding Fiat Chrysler Automobile.
Uncertainty is no new part of the equation. This is just another layer to the already extensive story that has been the automotive industry over the last calendar year.