Mercedes faces U.S. probe of recall-notice practices

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Mercedes-Benz USA is currently being investigated by safety regulators in the US, who say that the brand takes too long to send reminders about safety announcements to car owners and to inform the government.

NHTSA told the Daimler AG unit that it found numerous instances where owners of recalled cars were not informed within the federally compulsory 60-day window.

Sometimes the company "omitted important information about the problem for which a recall decision was made, or details about the recall plans," wrote Stephen Ridella, director of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation Enforcement, to the company.

The federal agency also has questions about the "process and cadence" of Mercedes for taking recall decisions and reporting NHTSA on them, according to another request.

Mercedes has often failed to meet the performance requirements needed to support the NHTSA tool in locating vehicle identification numbers, NHTSA said in the October 22 letter. The department's Recall Management department opens an audit question to investigate these matters, the letter said.

The end result was "potentially influenced vehicle owners who could not obtain safety-critical information about open safety reactions to their vehicles," according to the submission.

In a statement by e-mail, Mercedes said it "makes every effort to ensure that our recall actions and customer reports are timely." We will work closely with NHTSA on this audit question to remove its concerns. "