Volkswagen AG (ADR) (OTCMKTS:VLKAY) reported the lowest death and injury claims, compared to any major US automaker over past 10 years. According to Bloomberg, the company’s reported rate was nine times less than that reported by 11 biggest automakers’.
Two of Volkswagen’s rivals, Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR)(NYSE:HMC) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV(NYSE:FCAU) US division revealed that they have underreported claims to the US government. Volkswagen’s claim rate still remains lower than the underreported claims of these automakers, according to the data available.
The reporting of death and injury claims is the part of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) early-warning system to mark vehicle’s defect-trends in order to minimize causalities.
Bloomberg reported that NHTSA focuses to improve structure of informing potential defects, mainly through monitoring automakers reports and making its analysis more efficient.
The executive director of the Washington-based watchdog Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow, said that the claims reported by Volkswagen are so small that he doubts how they were compiled.
“NHTSA doesn’t have the resources to police all of this, but now they’re asking the automakers to tell them whether they’re in compliance,” Mr. Ditlow said. “For the automakers, it’s a time of reckoning.”
In January, Honda was fined $70 million for understating claims to NHTSA. Previous month, Fiat’s US unit did the same, violating regulatory requirement.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), the largest US automaker, reported the maximum number of claims, around 524 incidents per million vehicles. In contrast, Volkswagen has the lowest rate of 34 incidents per million. The average is about 301 per million vehicles on the road. Three giant companies, Toyota Motor Corp. (ADR) (NYSE:TM), GM, and BMW are above the average rate. The underreported rate of Honda was 78, while it was 101 for Fiat. Nissan Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) disclosed approximately 78 accidents per million vehicles, complying fully with the regulatory obligations.
Recently, Volkswagen US CEO, Michael Horn, disclosed that the company has pulled out its application for EPA certification for its upcoming 2021 diesel models, delaying sales of new models in the US.