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                                    Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River, one of the nation’s largest RV manufacturers, is facing up to $35 million in penalties for violating federal safety laws.

The South Bend Tribune reported that an investigation started by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last September found that Forest River failed to report safety defects and other information required by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

Forest River has “acknowledged it failed to report early warning data and failed to launch two safety recalls in a timely fashion,” according to a statement released by the NHTSA today (July 9).

In a separate statement, Forest River said it has come to an agreement with NHTSA to resolve the issue. The company reported it has been implementing corrective measures since being notified by NHTSA of the problems. As part of the agreement, Forest River will develop and promote a set of “best practices” for the RV industry.

The company stated that “Forest River looks forward to further engagement with NHTSA and will continue to focus its efforts on remaining the industry leader in safety.” When contacted by RVBUSINESS.com, Forest River CEO Pete Liegl declined further comment.

According to the Tribune, as part of a consent order signed by Liegl, the company must pay a $5 million penalty, with the possibility of another $30 million.

The manufacturer must retain an independent monitor to conduct periodic audits of safety practices. If Forest River fails to resolve any issues discovered in audits, the remaining penalties would come due — $3 million for a first violation, $7 million for a second, and $20 million for a third. Forest River must also hire a consultant to help meet requirements of the consent order.

The terms of the order last for three years, but the NHTSA can extend the order by one year if the independent monitor recommends it.

Forest River is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway Inc..

To read the entire story in the Tribune click here.