The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the long arm of the US Government that is assigned with the task of assessing and collecting fines against automotive manufacturers who do not meet that years current CAFE standards. For the 2006 model year the NHTSA issued a big “thank you very much” to DaimlerChrysler for their CAFE violations. The amount of the fine issued was $30,257,635.50 and serves as the largest fine assessed to date. The 2006 penalty assessed to DaimlerChrysler nearly doubles their 2005 fine of $16,895,472.00. DaimlerChrysler just barely eclipsed the prior record holder which was BMW of North America’s 2001 penalty of $27,985,925.00. Congratulations DaimlerChrysler.
However, now that Daimler has parted ways with Chrysler which of the two will dominate the list in 2008? Historically, according to the listing, Mercedes-Benz has kept in step with BMW of North America in maintaining a place on the NHTSA’s fine list. Before Daimler’s buyout of Chrysler none of the Big 3 (Ford, GM and Chrysler) had ever made an appearance in the NHTSA’s penalty box.
Between the model years 1983 thru 2006 the NHTSA has assessed over $735 million in penalties. With the new CAFE legislation in the books it will be interesting to see who can top DaimlerChrysler’s 2006 penalty in the coming years since nearly all auto manufacturers cried “Foul” up to the legislation’s passing.