Volvo fined $130 million by NHTSA for recall violations

January 31, 2023

Tyson Fisher


Volvo Group North America must pay a hefty civil penalty after an investigation found the heavy-duty truck manufacturer failed to comply with recall requirements.

On Jan. 27, Volvo Group North America signed a consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The order, which includes Mack Trucks, sets requirements and performance obligations agreed to by Volvo following a NHTSA investigation.

One of those requirements is a $130 million civil penalty, one of the largest-ever penalties for violations of the Vehicle Safety Act, according to a NHTSA news release.

Volvo investigation

In October 2018, NHTSA opened an investigation into Volvo’s compliance with certain recall regulations, including timeliness, manufacturer communications and early warning reports.

According to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, manufacturers are required to submit the following to NHTSA:

  • Information report within five days of discovering a defect.
  • Progress report “for each of six consecutive quarters beginning with the quarter in which the campaign was initiated.”
  • Copies of all notices, bulletins and other communications regarding any defects within “five working days after the end of the month in which it is issued.”
  • Comprehensive quarterly early warning reports.

Manufacturers also are required to notify owners of any known defects within 60 days of filing an information report to NHTSA.

According to the consent order, Volvo admits the following Safety Act violations:

  • Untimely filed certain recalls and failed to fully comply with other recall requirements.
  • Failed to submit certain manufacturer communications.
  • Failed to submit certain early warning reporting information.

“NHTSA will use the full scope of our authorities to protect the public from safety defects and from manufacturers that create potential safety problems by failing to comply with the law,” NHTSA acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a statement.

Consent order requirements

In addition to the $135 million civil penalty, Volvo must also implement other requirements as part of its agreement with NHTSA.

One requirement is oversight by an independent third-party auditor. The auditor will review and assess Volvo’s compliance with the consent order and the Safety Act. Also, the auditor will evaluate all Volvo recalls since July 2013.

Volvo also must develop written procedures and employee training materials explaining requirements for compliance with the Safety Act and the consent order.

Additionally, Volvo will launch an interface on its websites to allow users to search vehicle identification numbers for open recalls and implement a system to support NHTSA’s vehicle identification number lookup tool.

The consent order is good for three years, with a two-year extension possible if warranted by NHTSA. LL