The NHTSA is probing Mercedes to see if the manufacturer’s recall practices are adequate. In particular, the concerns are slow notices, inconsistent record-keeping, and poor reporting.
According to the NHTSA,
The issues include untimely owner notification letters and quarterly reporting, recall information reporting concerns, and VIN Lookup Tool service disruptions and issues.
In a letter from NHTSA to Mercedes, the government agency spelled out the problems in more detail:
Recall Management Division (RMD) review of MBUSA’s administration revealed numerous issues with timely notification to owners and purchasers, as well as timely submission of representative copies of communications to NHTSA. Additionally, MBUSA has frequently been unable to meet the performance requirements linked to its required support ofNHTSA’S’ VIN Look Up tool. Repeated and lengthy disruptions of MBUSA’s service result in the motoring public not being able to access safety critical information about their MBUSA vehicles and/or confusion over whether a safety recall applies to their vehicle.
For example, as part of an annual audit of recall files, on May 1, 2018, RMD issued MB USA a list of deficiencies in MBUSA’s 2017 recall files. This list included numerous recalls in which MBUSA failed to notify owners of vehicle recalls within the full sixty (60) days the company has under federal regulation. RMD asked MBUSA to explain why it could not meet the requirement, and to describe the steps MBUSA would take to ensure future recall notifications would be issued within 60 days.
MBUSA responded with a short statement for each deficiency. For example, MBUSA’s response to several of the inquiries about late issued owner notification letters was, “Redacted version of the interim letter was not posted. Redacted version now updated to portal.”
Among the many recalls cited by NHTSA were three covering brakes:
- 17V-308 (Subject: Brakes May Drag and Overheat)
- 17V-448 (Subject: Parking Brake Cable May Loosen)
- 17V-817 (Subject: Brake Booster May Not Provide Power Assist)
Earlier in The Brake Report: Mercedes issues brake-related recall for GLS, GLE models