Chrysler Creates New Unit Focused on Vehicle Safety

Chrysler Group LLC has created a new unit focused on vehicle safety and regulatory compliance as auto recalls attract renewed scrutiny amid U.S.probes of rival General Motors Co. for its slow reaction to flawed ignitions.

Scott Kunselman, a senior vice president, will head the new unit at Chrysler, the third-largest U.S. automaker, according to a statement from the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company. Kunselman will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA, Chrysler’s owner. Previously, Chrysler’s global engineering group was responsible for vehicle safety and regulatory compliance.

Vehicle recalls, while nothing new in the auto industry, have received more public attention this year after GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, attracted regulatory scrutiny for not being fast enough to call back 2.59 million small cars with ignition flaws linked to at least 13 deaths. Chrysler last month said it would recall more than 790,000 Jeep sport-utility vehicles as part of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigations into ignition switches.

Today’s “action will help intensify the company’s continuing commitment to vehicle safety and regulatory compliance,” Chrysler said.

Kunselman, who had been in charge of NAFTA purchasing and supplier quality, will remain part of the automaker’s NAFTA leadership team focusing solely on vehicle safety and regulatory compliance. Tom Finelli, director of global standardization, will assume responsibility for purchasing and supplier quality and join the company’s NAFTA leadership team effective immediately, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Niamh Ring in New York at nring@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net Niamh Ring, John Lear

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.