back to article Fiat Chrysler recall BLUNDERING could lump carmaker with $105m fine – report

Fiat Chrysler may cop a record-breaking fine from US authorities following a series of bungles. Earlier this week, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was forced to recall 1.4 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles, following revelations that the computer systems built into the cars could be exploited by an attacker …

  1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    "...forced to recall..."

    "US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was forced to recall..."

    Semantic nitpick.

    Doesn't the NHTSA request that the manufacturer recall the vehicles?

    A 'request' that would become a demand if required.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "...forced to recall..."

      "A 'request' that would become a demand if required."

      According to a radio report on R4 yesterday, Fiat-Chysler has just entered an agreement with the NHTSA to contact owners and _buy back_ up to 500,000 light trucks, in order to get them off the road.

      The report didn't say what the issue was. If the buyback is true then we're talking a world of serious pain for the makers.

      Edit: Yup. It's true.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Didn't Apple just hire some designer from Fiat/Chrysler for their Apple-Car development.

    No change there then. The A-C is gonna be insecure and open to hacking and theft.

    Hacking and making them crach I can understand

    But who would want to steal a Fruity Car?

    don't all laugh at once

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh dear

      Yes, I believe Apple have just hired Fiat-Chrysler's ex-enior VP of Global Quality, no less. This is not going to end well for Apple or for any future iMotorists. There really is a good reward for failure isn't there?

  3. bazza Silver badge

    Dose of Reality

    The car industry needs an injection of reality into their thinking on the security of connected cars. They are sleep walking into huge liabilities, and this incident for Fiat Chrysler should act as a wake up call. They must first ask themselves what do they really think they're getting from all this connected technology, and do they think it will be worth it?

    The insurance industry should start getting worried too. It's going to be very difficult to blame a driver for a crash if they can realistically claim, "wasn't me that pressed the throttle, the car must have been hacked.". Eventually the insurers won't be able to push back against such claims, and they will then have to pick up the bill.

    If the manufacturers are looking for increased sales from a "connencted car" they might have got it hideously wrong. The ones that can say "no radio connections here" could do very well in the market once a few more scare stories start circulating.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dose of Reality

      When I was shopping for a car earlier this year I specifically avoided GM products because of Onstar. I looked at Mazda and Dodge cars, and Ram Trucks before I eventually bought a Ford Fusion. I asked specifically if they had cellular radios installed for the telematics systems, or if they communicated through attached cell phones like sync. And I was assured that none had the ability to communicate on their own. It appears that the Dodge and Ram dealerships lied to me. I have been considering purchasing a Ram 1500 Ecodiesel next spring. It looks like that will no longer happen.

      1. Hud Dunlap

        Re: Dose of Reality

        I doubt they lied. Most of them don't know what they are talking about but will give you an answer anyway.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Dose of Reality

          "I doubt they lied. Most of them don't know what they are talking about but will give you an answer anyway."

          Exactly. They just figure out what you want to hear and let you have it. The _right_ way to ask that question is "these things _can_ be updated remotely and _do_ have always-on remote telemetry, right?". Then if the answer you get is "Ummm, no, sorry", you know you're onto something...

    2. Scoular

      Re: Dose of Reality

      At the very least give the owner control and the ability to turn any such tracking and monitoring systems off, and properly off, not just hidden.

      What ever happened to those constitutional rights?

    3. Fan of Mr. Obvious

      Re: Dose of Reality

      Currently, a hacking incident would likely be classified similar to vandalism. The carrier would pay for damages to the owned vehicle if comprehensive (US) coverage is in place but not to any third part. Meaning windshield washers kicking on causing you to smash into JB's car that is in the Stop-n-Go parking lot only gets your vehicle fixed. If the manufacturer has an active recall, or later issues a recall, they could be liable but will likely not pay. Any third party is SOL, as is the vehicle owner if they do not have full coverage.To be clear, the only way your vehicle, or a vehicle that your vehicle runs into, gets fixed is via each owners insurance.

      If it gets to the point where the hacking is classified as terrorism, say because some red state decided to crash every Jeep on the road, then insurance carriers are off the hook completely.

      Bottom line, insurance policies are pretty clear on things like this even if they are not 'clear' on hacking. The driver of the vehicle must be determined to be negligent for a third party to be covered. If these cases start going to arbitration with the driver being ruled against, then the carriers will likely seek legislation protecting them and/or changing the policy language to specifically exclude coverage for these incidents. In either case (legislation or policy language change), the carrier wins since a claim of 'it wasn't me" would result in a claim be denied for all damages, even to your own vehicle.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Dose of Reality

      "The insurance industry should start getting worried too"

      As with range rovers in north London, they'll simply decline to provide cover

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    None of this new fangled technology, good old fashioned motoring how it used to be:

    Good old fashioned driving

  5. regprentice

    Wow !

    I've been getting emails from gmc onstar for a couple of years. Someone with the same name as me seems to have bought a gmc truck in canada and through a form filling error i have ended up getting his email. (My email address is just

    I havent taken an interest before but looking back over the emails i've been getting this is probably the more worrying one... But they are also sending me 'onstar diagnostic reports' every month that i assume tally up milage/mpg etc...

    'no-charge OnStar1 RemoteLink®2 mobile app. This ingenious app allows you to start3 your vehicle from anywhere, so it’s ready and comfortable when you arrive to it. Plus, RemoteLink can do so much more for you. Other features include remote door lock/unlock, vehicle diagnostics and navigation. '

    As i have the linked email address presumably i can reset the account? I would have previously assumed that GM would be bright enough to have some security control, a bit like bluetooth pairing?, but having read this article i'm not sure they are that bright....

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Wow !

      "I'm not sure they are that bright...."

      They may actually be very bright, but they are in a universe very far from ours so it looks dim to us.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Wow !

      "This ingenious app allows you to start3 your vehicle from anywhere, so it’s ready and comfortable when you arrive to it."

      I don't know about the USA or Canada, but here in blighty that feature could get someone fined since it's illegal leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running on a public highway.

      Ah, a cursory Google says it's illegal in at least some US states and more are considering it.

      For those who have this "feature", be careful where you use it, even if you can keep the car locked while the engine is running.

      1. Ole Juul Silver badge

        Re: Wow !

        I don't know about the USA or Canada, but here in blighty that feature could get someone fined since it's illegal leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running on a public highway.

        It's illegal in Canada and probably in most of the US as well. However, it's not typically enforced here in Canada. Also, I think we have a luxury of space on this continent. Most people park their cars in their own driveway.

    3. Fan of Mr. Obvious

      Re: Wow !

      OnStar will send a reset to your email, but they use security questions to actually reset the password.

  6. Ru'

    Isn't it gong to be law in the US (and therefore probably EU too?) soon that all new cars must have an onstar type system?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      onstar ? e911? EU?

      if one cuts onstar down to the e911 type functionality then the EU has recently voted to make it mandatory from 2018. Your car will be able (be required?) to phone 112 in the event of a serious accident (e.g. airbags or fuel cutoff activated).

      Hopefully there will also be a corresponding requirement on the emergency services to actually respond, unlike Police Scotland whose incompetence in response to reports from the public recently led to a crashed car being ignored for three days, and the occupants were not alive when police did eventually respond.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019