Yesterday, Honda Motor Co. agreed to pay a record $70 million dollars in fines after failing to tell the U.S. government about warranty claims and more than 1,700 injuries and deaths linked to potential defects in their vehicles. 1,700!!! That makes the GM scandal look like child’s play.
Along with the fines, Honda will also be subjected to stricter oversight in upcoming years for failing to adhere to a 14 year old U.S. law that is aimed at helping the NHTSA quickly identify vehicle flaws and warn the public.
“Honda and all of the automakers have a safety responsibility they must live up to — no excuses,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement today. “These fines reflect the tough stance we will take against those who violate the law.”
To put Honda’s fine in perspective, just take a look at the GM scandal. During 2014, the Detroit-based automaker was fined a record (at the time) $35 million for their cover-up of the ignition switch malfunction that has led to over 100 confirmed injuries and deaths. Honda has just doubled that fine and is lucky that it isn’t more, considering they are facing a potential 1,700 death and injury claims.
In regards to Honda, the NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind says, “Today’s announcement sends a very clear message to the entire industry that manufacturers have responsibility for the complete and timely reporting of this critical safety information. The actions we are requiring will push Honda to significantly raise the bar on the effectiveness of its EWR reporting program. Our ongoing oversight will ensure compliance and determine if there is cause for additional actions.”
Ever since this issue came to light late last year, Honda has tried to distance itself from the blame, consistently blaming “inadvertent data entry or computer programming errors” on their lack of transparency over the last 11 years.
With yesterday’s announcement, though, it appears the NHTSA will not accept that answer, leaving Honda out in the cold with their tail between their legs.
“We have resolved this matter and will move forward to build on the important actions Honda has already taken to address our past shortcomings in early warning reporting,” says Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America. “We continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA to achieve greater transparency and to further enhance our reporting practices.”
Well, good for you. Thanks for the effort. Pathetic.