DOT chief meets with automakers over 'record recalls'

DOT chief meets with automakers over 'record recalls'
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Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE met with the heads of 15 major U.S. auto companies this week to discuss a series of recalls he has called "troubling," according to officials transportation department.

Automakers — as well as highway safety regulators in the Obama administration — have come under fire after widespread recalls at companies like General Motors and Takata beginning in 2014 that involved parts that were first found to be defective years ago.

The issue of car safety was brought back into the spotlight again this year by recent revelations that German automaker Volkswagen has been cheating federal pollution emission standards to trick regulators into believing their cars are more fuel efficient than they actually are.

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DOT Press Secretary Namrata Kolachalam said Foxx "held a very productive meeting with 15 major vehicle manufacturers" about the auto industry's handling of safety defects on Tuesday. 

"With record recalls in the last several years and the growing threat of cybersecurity, Secretary Foxx asked that they come to Washington to discuss how they and the Department can work together to improve vehicle safety and cybersecurity," she said in a statement. 

"Participants were asked to come prepared with suggestions to share, and spend the next month working toward concrete commitments to industry-wide safety measures," Kolachalam continued. "We view this meeting as a good and important step in an ongoing conversation between the U.S. DOT and auto industry executives. This group will reconvene in January." 

Foxx first said he was considering hauling automakers into Washington as the controversial about Volkswagen's emission scandal mounted in September. 

"There are a number of issues on the table right now that probably merit discussion across many of the manufacturers," Foxx said during a meeting with reporters at the Transportation Department's headquarters in Washington then.  

"One of them is 'Look folks, we have millions of people rely on what you make every day to get from everywhere from work to putting their most precious cargo — their kids — in cars, and we need to have confidence that information that we get is real and accurate information,'" he continued. 

"We've obviously fined heavily where we can. We've also added on top of that in consent agreements that give us authorities to peer behind the veil than we would have had otherwise. But It's time to bring everybody in here and have a deeper conversation about go-forwards, and we're willing to do that," Foxx concluded.  

The transportation department said participants in the meeting with Foxx included representatives from BMW; Fiat Chrysler; Ford; General Motors; Honda; Hyundai; Jaguar; Kia; Mazda; Mitsubishi; Nissan; Subaru; Tesla; Toyota and Volkswagen.