AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Fiat-Chrysler has begun notifying owners of older, unrepaired vehicles that were recalled for safety defects, offering new incentives ranging from $100 prepaid cards to vehicle repurchase plans.
Terms of the incentives and trade-in and buy-back programs were negotiated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after a July 2 public hearing to determine whether the automaker has "failed to remedy safety defects and issue required notices in 23 recalls."
The completion-rate incentives program is part of the automaker's $105-million settlement with federal safety regulators.
The automaker said the customer incentive plans are intended to encourage owners to bring the recalled vehicles in to dealers for necessary repairs.
The incentives were designed to boost repair completion rates on certain older SUVs and pickup trucks for which parts were not immediately available, the company said.
Remedies are now available, and "we encourage affected customers to contact their dealers," said Scott Kunselman, Chrysler's senior vice president for vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, in a statement on Monday.
He added: "It is imperative that all vehicles implicated by recalls are inspected and serviced, as required."
Fiat-Chrysler said owners of recalled vehicles that have not been repaired can check their eligibility at one of three Web sites:
Upon completion of recall repairs, Liberty owners will receive a prepaid $100 Visa card, while Grand Cherokee owners can get a $100 Visa card or trade in the vehicle and receive $1,000 toward the purchase of a new vehicle or a prepaid $1,000 Visa card that can be used for parts or service at the U.S. dealership accepting the trade-in.
Fiat-Chrysler also has contacted owners affected by NHTSA recalls 13V-038, 13V-527 and 13V-529, covering certain 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs, 2009-'12 Dodge Ram/Ram 1500 pickups, 2009-'11 Dodge Dakota pickups, 2008-'12 Dodge Ram/Ram 2500 and 3500 4x4 pickups, 2008-'12 Dodge Ram/Ram 3500 4x2 Cab Chassis vehicles, 2008 Dodge Ram/Ram Mega Cab 4x4 pickups and 2008-'12 Dodge Ram/Ram 4500 and 5500 trucks.
Owners of eligible vehicles will receive a $100 Visa card or can negotiate a repurchase of the vehicle with the dealer and receive a 10 percent premium over the estimated value of the vehicle. Alternatively, they can trade in the vehicle and receive a $2,000 incentive for Ram models or $1,000 for Chrysler or Dodge models.
The trade-in program expires January 4.
To participate in the repurchase program, customers can visit www.fcarecall.com starting today.
Beginning October 1, owners may contact dealers to arrange for vehicle inspections. Dealers will then call a third-party administrator to complete the inspection and present a final offer to customers who have three options.
They can opt for the recall repair and receive the $100 Visa card, accept the repurchase offer or opt for the trade-in incentive.
Edmunds says: Affected consumers now can make some decisions about how they will proceed.