Kawasaki to Pay $5.2 Million Penalty, Maintain Compliance Program for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles

The penalty settles charges for misrepresentation and failure to report defective vehicles

Kawasaki to Pay $5.2 Million Penalty, Maintain Compliance Program for Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles
Image: NCCC
June 2, 2017

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Motors, and Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing have agreed to a settlement of charges of misrepresentation and the failure to report defective vehicles.

The companies will pay a $5.2 million civil penalty and implement a compliance program to make sure it will comply with the Consumer Product Safety Act.

Kawasaki was charged with failing to immediately report to the CPSC that its 2012-2016 Teryx4 750, Teryx4 800, and Teryx 800 recreational off-highway vehicles had a defect that was capable of creating a substantial product hazard or could create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. The agency also claimed that the company knowingly misrepresented materially to CPSC staff by under-reporting the number of Teryx4 750 floorboard incidents, and also by not reporting any incidents at all related to the other two vehicle models.

Between April 2012 and July 2014, Kawasaki got more than 400 reports of floorboards cracking or breaking in the Teryx4 750 while the vehicle was operating normally as a result of impact with—or penetration by—outside debris. Three of these resulted in consumer injuries, including one serious injury.

Between July 2013 and August 2015, the company also received more than 150 reports of floorboards cracking or breaking in the Teryx4 800 and Teryx 800 while they were in normal operation. Three caused injuries to consumers, including two serious injuries. Although federal law required it to notify CPSC about the defect or risk that the vehicles posed, Kawasaki did not do so.

The full report that the company eventually filed with the agency reported only one incident and an unspecified number of injuries to consumers. By omitting the actual numbers of incidents and injuries, alleged the CPSC, Kawasaki made a material misrepresentation to agency staff, impeded the staff's investigation of the hazard posed by the vehicles and the repair proposed by the company, and hampered the staff's ability to notify the public accurately about the prevalence of the hazard.

Kawasaki eventually recalled 11,000 vehicles in July 2014, then expanded the recall in December 2015 to include 19,500 more vehicles.