Brazil fines Fiat and demands recall over wheel failure fears

BRASILIA // Brazil's Justice Ministry has fined Fiat US$1.7 million, citing the car maker's failure to recall its Stilo models to fix a wheel problem that has possibly caused eight deaths in the South American country. The Justice Ministry said Fiat must call back all the vehicles made since 2004 because of a problem that may cause the wheels to fall off, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. Brazil has investigated 30 accidents involving the Stilo, including the eight deaths, said Renato Ferreira de Oliveira, Justice Ministry's spokesman. Brazil is Fiat's biggest market by sales. The Italian car maker denied any wrongdoing in a statement published in the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. Fiat said it will recall the vehicles and challenge the decision. Fiat sells the Brazilian-made Stilo in the country and also exports it to other Latin American countries.