The company announced that it is offering a $1,000 trade-in credit towards a new Fiat-Chrysler vehicle, or $2,000 towards the purchase of a Ram model pickup. For those who desire to keep their repaired vehicles, the company will offer a $100 prepaid credit card for completing the repair which consumers can spend as they wish.
As part of its consent agreement with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), embattled automaker Fiat-Chrysler announced a program on Monday offering incentives for consumers to repair several of the company’s defective vehicles. These incentives come in addition to the vehicle buyback program the company announced for the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango, as well as certain models of 2008-2012 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 and 4500 pickups. The recall on these vehicles involves the rear axle pinion nut, which can cause the rear axle to lock up, and the larger Ram vehicles also have a defect with the tie-rod steering assembly. Fiat-Chrysler launched the website, http://www.fcarecall.com on Tuesday for owners of these vehicles to enroll in the buyback program, which promises fair market value plus 10 percent. Fiat-Chrysler executives announced last month that the company has repaired about 70 percent of the 578,000 vehicles that were eligible for the buyback, with about 175,000 remaining.
In addition to the buyback, however, Fiat-Chrysler has unveiled two other options for vehicle owners who do not want to sell their vehicle to the company. In its statement on Monday, the company announced that it is offering a $1,000 trade-in credit towards a new Fiat-Chrysler vehicle, or $2,000 towards the purchase of a Ram model pickup. For those who desire to keep their repaired vehicles, the company will offer a $100 prepaid credit card for completing the repair which consumers can spend as they wish. The repairs are being offered at no charge as well. Although the trade-in program is set to expire on January 4th, 2016, the gift card and the buyback incentives have no expiration date. Fiat Chrysler senior vice president of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance Scott Kunselman said in the statement “Remedies are available, we are servicing vehicles, and we encourage affected customers to contact their dealers. It is imperative that all vehicles implicated by recalls are inspected and serviced, as required.”
The new incentive announcement also covers 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees as well as 2002-2007 Jeep Liberties, which were not included in the buyback program. At least six deaths have been attributed to faulty gas tanks on the vehicles, which can explode upon rear-end impact. The NHTSA and Fiat-Chrysler agreed to a much-criticized makeshift solution to the defect, by installing a trailer hitch to the rear bumper of the vehicles, creating additional space between the impact zone and the fuel system. Despite the controversy, Fiat-Chrysler is strongly encouraging owners of the Jeep vehicles to get the repair completed. The company is offering the incentive package to Jeep owners who have not repaired the vehicles before July 24th. In addition to the massive $105 million fine given to Fiat-Chrysler by the NHTSA for its delays and lackluster response to 23 separate recalls, the company was also required to hire an independent monitor to ensure that the repairs are being conducted in a timely manner.
Bloomberg Business – Jeff Plungis
Consumerist – Laura Northrup
The Detroit News – David Shepardson