Car Industry

Daimler will pay $13M to settle NHTSA recall investigation

NHTSA investigated the automaker for how it conducted recalls, and now Mercedes-Benz will meet with the agency more often.

There's another $7 million fine on the table if Daimler doesn't meet certain requirements.

German automaker Daimler will pay $13 million in a civil penalty, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Wednesday.

The government agency opened an investigation into Mercedes-Benz USA last year to learn more about how it handled various vehicle recalls. The probe came as the German company's actions surrounding recall reporting and execution came under scrutiny.  NHTSA specifically said it failed to notify owners in a timely manner and didn't act swiftly to start two specific recalls.

In addition, the agency said this settlement also addresses concerns about the automaker's VIN lookup tool for owners to check and see if their vehicle has an open recall.

NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in a statement, "These laws are critical to ensure NHTSA's ability to provide oversight, and we expect manufacturers to follow their legal obligations to the agency and to consumers in carrying out safety recalls."

Mercedes-Benz told Roadshow, "We believe that we did not deliberately do anything wrong, but unfortunately we missed some deadlines in informing the agency of the measures we had taken in fulfilling their requirements." The company added, "We agreed to resolve this matter in an effort to answer NHTSA's questions and move forward.  In all cases, however, MBUSA had announced the recalls, provided consumers with information and launched the recalls as soon as possible."

Up front, the luxury carmaker will pay $13 million with another $7 million fine deferred for now. The additional fine will activate if Mercedes-Benz and Daimler don't meet "specific conditions." Mercedes-Benz will also need to meet with NHTSA once per quarter to discuss its recall operations for one year.

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