Federal safety regulators signaled Monday that they are taking a tougher stance on automakers that don’t identify and quickly repair defects in their cars.

Their remarks came a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had admitted violating safety regulations, would pay record fines and agreed to buy back hundreds of thousands of Ram trucks.

“We are sending an unambiguous message to the industry,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “if you skirt the laws or violate the laws we are going to penalize you.”

The enforcement action follows a public hearing earlier this month at which NHTSA detailed problems with 23 Fiat Chrysler recalls covering more than 11 million defective vehicles.

The automaker has since admitted to violating federal safety regulations by not executing effective and timely recall remedies, failing in its notification obligation to vehicle owners and dealers and not keeping regulators informed of safety problems.

“We are continuing to be very aggressive in ensuring automakers are following the rules and that vehicles with defects are being fixed,” Foxx said.

In a signed consent order disclosed Sunday, Fiat Chrysler agreed to a $105 million civil penalty, the largest imposed by NHTSA. It also agreed to buy back the trucks, which have a suspension problem that can cause them to suddenly veer out of control.

The agency and the automaker described the terms differently. NHTSA said that Fiat Chrysler will have to buy back as many as 500,000 trucks. Company spokesman Eric Mayne said it won’t be more than 193,000 because it has repaired the rest. The company said its agreement allows it to repurchase the vehicles, repair them and sell them.

Moreover, owners of 1 million Jeeps that are prone to deadly fires when rear-ended will receive a financial incentive – a $100 gift card – to bring their Jeeps in for inspection and repairs. The owners of 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees also will have the choice of trading them in for $1,000 over fair market value.

The company said in a statement that it would “improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us. We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate.”

Fiat Chrysler also agreed to hire a NHTSA-approved independent monitor to track, assess and report the company’s recall performance for the next three years.

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