Were 2014's record recalls "overkill"?
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne thinks the auto industry may have gone overboard by recalling more than 63 million vehicles in the United States last year following greater scrutiny from federal regulators, the Detroit News reported.
"In all likelihood it is quite possible that there have been some instances that we may have overreacted with particular recalls," Marchionne said.
He told media at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that "the all-encompassing answer to the air bag issue may have been overkill," referencing the 14.5 million vehicles recalled for potentially faulty Takata air bags.
Marchionne wouldn't fault his own company when asked if any of Chrysler's recalls were only issued to stay on good terms with U.S. safety regulators.
"Even if I had an answer to that question I wouldn't give it to you," said Marchionne, as quoted by the News, adding that "to the best of my knowledge" Chrysler didn't conduct any "useless" recall campaigns last year.
The Japanese supplier's dangerous air bag inflators, which can explode in the event of a crash, constitute just one fiasco from last year. The ignition switches installed in General Motors vehicles that have been related to at least 45 deaths were the catalyst for a record year of recalls as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration played catch up.
Under fire for failing to flag a decade of deaths in GM small cars, the agency has been putting more pressure on carmakers to report safety issues in a timely manner. Mark Rosekind, who was recently installed as NHTSA chief, has said the agency needs to push for faster recalls and a higher maximum penalty for automakers who don't report issues. He has also warned that 2015 may bring an increase in recalls.