Bisbee Importing and Metro Auto Importer, both in Michigan, have had their registered importer status revoked by NHTSA.
Investigations revealed "serious and systemic violations of federal safety requirements," NHTSA, the nation's top auto safety regulator, said in a statement Tuesday. The companies will no longer be able to legally import vehicles into the U.S.
Registered importers are businesses that have been approved "to import vehicles that were not originally manufactured to comply with applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs), and to perform the necessary modifications to bring the vehicles into conformance," according to NHTSA's website.
The companies were suspended after NHTSA determined they knowingly submitted false and misleading certifications of conformance for imported vehicles. Bisbee, of Davison, was suspended last May, and Metro Auto, of Clinton Township, was suspended a month earlier.
Subsequent investigation determined that Bisbee had imported over 29,000 vehicles without required conformity packages over multiple years, NHTSA said. Metro Auto failed to submit required conformity packages for at least 2,900 vehicles, the agency concluded. That included 370 vehicles while Metro Auto was actively under investigation, the statement added.
Bisbee did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Automotive News. Metro Auto declined to comment.
In response to NHTSA's announcement, Roland Foch, managing director of the North American Vehicle Trade Association, told Automotive News, "Registered importers may consider updating their regulatory research on a monthly basis to mitigate risks with noncompliance."
Bisbee and Metro Auto are obligated to notify owners and remedy vehicles that were not brought into conformance.