DETROIT (Reuters) -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said Tuesday the automaker is in talks with U.S. auto safety regulators to head off potential fines over the company's handling of recalls involving 11 million vehicles.
Marchionne gave an impromptu press conference on the sidelines of a ceremonial handshake to kick off contract talks with the UAW.
Regarding the discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Marchionne said, "There's nothing signed," but said the company needs to change the way it deals with regulators going forward.
Marchionne didn't elaborate on the discussions but indicated he hopes the company can avoid fines.
"We have adapted not in the best possible way to the new regime," Marchionne said, referring to the more active approach to enforcement taken by NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind.
NHTSA convened a hearing July 2 on Chrysler's handling of recalls. The company could face fines up to $700 million.
"We have to continue to work with the agency to put us on the right path," Marchionne said.
NHTSA said in a statement Tuesday that "one possible outcome is a consent order in which Fiat Chrysler agrees to address issues with its recall performance. That remains a possibility. We hope to have steps to announce soon after the public comment period after the hearing ends on July 17."