U.S. Safety Agency Probing Mercedes-Benz Recall Notice Practices

By Hema Parmar | October 30, 2018

Mercedes-Benz USA is under investigation by U.S. safety regulators who say the luxury-auto maker may be taking too long to send safety recall notices to car owners and inform the government.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the unit of Germany’s Daimler AG that it found numerous instances in which owners of recalled cars weren’t notified within the federally mandated 60-day window.

The company at times “omitted critical information about the problem for which a recall decision was made, or details about its recall plans,” Stephen Ridella, director of NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation Enforcement, wrote to the company.

The federal agency also has questions about Mercedes-Benz’s “process and cadence” for making recall decisions and notifying NHTSA about them, according to another filing.

The car giant has often failed to meet the performance requirements needed to support the NHTSA’s tool to look-up vehicle identification numbers, NHTSA said in the letter, which was dated Oct. 22. The department’s Recall Management Division is opening an audit query to investigate these matters, the letter said.

The end result was “potentially impacted vehicle owners not being able to obtain safety critical information about open safety recalls on their vehicles,” according to the filing.

In an emailed statement, Mercedes said it makes “every effort to ensure our recall campaigns and customer notifications are executed in a timely manner. We will work closely with NHTSA on this audit query to address its concerns.”

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