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U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C.


Statement by

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Settlement with Ford Motor Company

March 15, 1999

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that it has settled a dispute with the Ford Motor Company. The dispute involved two issues:

  • The timeliness of Ford's April, 1996 recall of approximately 7.8 million vehicles manufactured between 1988 and 1992 to replace ignition switches that presented a risk of steering column and underdash fires; and

  • The completeness and accuracy of Ford's responses to NHTSA information requests in four investigations.

To resolve this dispute, Ford has agreed to pay the government a civil penalty of $425,000. In the settlement, Ford has made no admissions, and NHTSA has made no findings.

This is the largest civil penalty ever paid to NHTSA in connection with the timeliness of agency notification regarding a safety-related defect.

This settlement shows the great importance that NHTSA places on complete, thorough and accurate responses by manufacturers to the requests for safety-related data. It also highlights the need for swift, timely recognition of safety-related defects, coupled with prompt recalls to remedy safety problems.


U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
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