The S60: just one of the models subject to recall (Photo : Volvo)
Volvo Cars North America has agreed to pay $1.5 million in fines after the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the Swedish badge, long associated with excellence in safety technology, had failed to properly report safety defects to the federal government.
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Automakers are required by NHTSA to notify the administration within five business days if they discover safety issues that prevent their products from meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards. They are also required to immediately issue a recall.
"With millions of vehicles traveling our highways every single day, we take our responsibility to safeguard the driving public very seriously and we expect automakers to do the same," US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "Manufacturers are required to handle safety issues both quickly and appropriately."
The agency evaluated six Volvo recalls in conducted in 2010 and one in 2012 to determine that the company was not in compliance with federal guidelines.
The NHTSA's official statement, with a link to the full recall report, can be read here.
Issues were various, but included improper tire and loading information in the owner's manual, improperly tightened gearshift lever studs, faults in the driver's airbag wiring, overheating of GPS batteries, and engine cooling systems that failed to kick in.
Latest models subject to recall were 2012 S60, XC60, S80, and XC70 vehicles manufactured during a certain window of time in 2011. These vehicles may have had the wire harnesses under their front seats improperly attached, making the harnesses subject to disconnecting when the seats were adjusted.
The fines will be paid to the US Treasury.