The nation's largest automakers plan to announce a new safety pact with federal regulators later this week.
Reuters reports that the agreement — to be unveiled Friday at the Detroit Auto Show — will focus on cyber security and the use of early safety warning data. The proposal will also reportedly establish new government task forces on auto safety issues.
Carmakers — including GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Daimler and BMW — began meeting with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in mid-December to discuss vehicle safety.
In total, 16 companies indicated their support for a safety agreement in a letter to the NHTSA. The accord could help facilitate further discussions about safety and enhance cooperation between rival companies.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that he hoped to "get to a stage where safety is no longer a competitive edge used by one automaker against another."
Critics, however, countered that the agreement is voluntary and falls short of new legislation to heighten auto safety standards — and that the industry could use the deal as leverage against stricter requirements in the future.
The pact follows a year of high-profile recalls and financial penalties levied against automakers in the U.S.
NHTSA officials said that the proposal would not impact the agency's ability to fine car companies, but the agency's chief said that regulators could not generate safer cars through penalties alone.
"We're going to have to find new tools," Administrator Mark Rosekind told Reuters. "That means new collaborations, new partnerships."