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December 18, 2019 12:00 PM, EST

Daimler to Pay $20 Million Penalty Over Mercedes Recall Lapses

Mercedes logoPatrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

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Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz has agreed to pay as much as $20 million in penalties for violations of how it operated its vehicle recall program.

Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. arm must pay $13 million immediately, while the remainder is deferred in case there are additional violations. The penalty was announced Dec. 18 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The company had issues with timeliness and adequacy of notifications to car owners with vehicle safety defects, NHTSA said in a news release.

“These laws are critical to ensure NHTSA’s ability to provide oversight, and we expect manufacturers to follow their legal obligations to the agency and to consumers in carrying out safety recalls,” NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said in the release.

NHTSA examined 101 safety-defect recalls from 2016 through 2018. Investigators found in some instances the company missed the 60-day deadline to notify owners, failed to upload required documents to the web and didn’t inform NHTSA within the required five days.

The agency also found that Mercedes-Benz’s online tool allowing customers to look up their vehicle identification numbers to check for recalls didn’t always work.

A spokesman for Daimler in the U.S. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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