Vehicle Manufacturers Best Equipped for Defect Warning: U.S. Safety Agency
Vehicle manufacturers seem better prepared than the suppliers of auto parts to submit early warnings about complaints and defects, while they all face rapidly approaching deadlines to submit such info...
Vehicle manufacturers seem better prepared than the suppliers of auto parts to submit early warnings about complaints and defects, while they all face rapidly approaching deadlines to submit such information to the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Syncata Corporation, an automotive consultancy, recently found that 85 per cent of vehicle manufacturers were prepared to submit the early warning reports as required by the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. Yet more than 40 per cent of suppliers were “not at all” or only “somewhat” prepared to generate and submit the reports.
The TREAD Act requires the makers of vehicles and related parts to provide NHTSA with reports on consumer complaints as well as warranty, legal claims, production volumes, field reports and incidents of death and injury.
The first reports are due on Dec. 1, after NHTSA pushed back the beginning of the first three-month reporting period to July 1. (The initial start date was April 1.) The date for submitting baseline reports of historical data was also pushed back to Jan. 17, 2004, from Aug. 1, 2003.
The weak state of readiness could be linked to confusion about the Act itself.
“NHTSA’s requirements are complex, frequently changing and subject to multiple interpretations by their own legal team, which has made it difficult for many companies to understand their specific compliance steps,” said Marianne Grant, director of the Syncata business innovation center.
Almost 40 per cent of supplier respondents said that they understood the changing compliance requirements only “somewhat” or “not at all.”
And while manufacturers may be more willing to submit reports, just over 15 per cent said they were “extremely well” prepared. The makers of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, trailers and recreational vehicles were the most likely to be prepared to meet the rules, the group found.