Fiat Chrysler has agreed to buy back up to half a million Dodge Ram pickup trucks after some repairs that were performed as a result of recalls proved unsuccessful.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the recalled trucks have defective steering parts that can cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle, the Associated Press reported .
Unsold 2008 Ram pickup trucks sit in a long row at a Dodge dealership in the south Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo. on Sunday, May 11, 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In addition to the Dodge Rams, Chrysler is also allowing consumers to trade in their older jeeps or have the automaker pay for the necessary repairs to fix the rear-mounted gas tanks that could cause fires if the vehicles get hit from the back.
However, Ram owners don’t have to sell their trucks back if they don’t want to. While the automaker has agreed to buy them back from the consumers who don’t want them anymore, it is also offering to pay them back for repairs that have proved unsuccessful on some other trucks.
Fiat Chrysler is also being forced to pay as much as $105 million as part of a larger legal settlement with federal regulators. It has been accused of misconduct while handling at least 23 recalls affecting more than 11 million vehicles.
The settlement includes a $70 million fine, $20 million for outreach to let customers know about the recall and $15 million if the automaker violates any of the deal’s requirements.
Dodge Ram models that are being included in the buyback are Ram 1500s from 2009 to 2012, Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4 by 4 from 2008 Ram 2500 4 by 4, 3500 4 by 4, 4500 4 by 4, and 5500 4 by 4 from 2008-2012. 2009 Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Durango SUVs and the Dodge Dakota from 2009-2011 are also among the vehicles that are eligible for buyback.
The automaker is required to buy back the vehicles from customers who choose to get rid of them for the purchase price, minus the value of any depreciation. It is then allowed to repair the vehicles and resell them, the Associated Press reported.
The amount is the largest ever issued by the NHTSA and comes just weeks after the largest consumer recall in U.S. history was announced, in which Takata Corp. declared more than 33 million airbags defective under heavy pressure from federal regulators.
In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it accepted the terms of the settlement with “with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us.”
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