Car safety champion Volvo apparently wasn’t protecting its own backside from the U.S. government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just announced that the Swedish automaker has agreed to pay the agency a $1.5 million fine for failure to promptly notify it of safety issues with Volvo vehicles. Says Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary, “With millions of vehicles traveling our highways every single day, we take our responsibility to safeguard the driving public very seriously and we expect automakers to do the same.”
Volvo, for its part, is apologetic to the reported violation:
“Volvo’s dedication to quality and consumer safety is paramount. After several conversations with NHTSA about its reporting rules, Volvo Car Corp. has taken steps to improve the review process and analysis of potential quality and safety issues with our vehicles. We are in agreement with NHTSA’s objective to communicate with the agency and consumers in a timely manner. It’s important to note that, in each of the subject cases, a voluntary recall had been conducted and no injuries, fatalities or property damage claims were reported.
“Eighty-five years ago, our founders said, ‘Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety.’ We apologize for this delay and will continue to uphold this deep-rooted value and work in a manner that maintains the public’s trust.”
Federal law mandates automakers report safety defects involving their vehicles within five days. According to the NHTSA, it found evidence that Volvo failed to report promptly six recalls back in 2010 and one in 2012. Those recalls involve the Volvo vehicles C30, C70, S40, S60, S80, XC60, XC70, XC90, V50, and the V70.
Automotive.com’s take: The NHTSA’s announcement has no immediate effect on Volvo owners at this time. The rebuke is between the federal agency and the automaker.