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Auto blogWed, 17 Jul 2013 11:30:00 EST
Chrysler's spate of successful products is about to be marred by a trio of recalls. The Pentastar is recalling 51,477 Ram trucks and Jeep SUVs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been no reported accidents, injuries or deaths related to the affected vehicles.
The largest action covers the Ram 1500, which is seeing 45,961 trucks being recalled. Models built between June 26, 2012 and February 5, 2013 are being recalled due to a potential software issue in the electronic stability control. Apparently, the system can be randomly deactivated upon vehicle startup.
Chrysler is also recalling 4,458 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee models. Covering everything but the SRT models, the potentially defective SUVs were built between January 14 and March 20, 2013. This recall focuses on "premium headlights," which means cars equipped with LED running lights. During the switch from the bright daytime running lamp setting to the low-intensity parking light setting, an electrical spike can cause one of the Jeep's computers to go into a safe mode, turning off the LEDs. This violates Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
The situation was bound to boil over at some point. Grumblings from former and current members of the Viper Club of America, and letters sent from Chrysler to VCA president Lee Stubberfield, allege that the non-profit club is being run illegally as a for-profit business, Jalopnik reports.
The trouble reportedly started in 2007, when VCA member and former club national president Chris Marshall is alleged to have taken a paid position at the club courtesy of the acting board members at the time. By 2010, with the demise of the Dodge Viper looming, the VCA reportedly made a deal with Chrysler to to acquire a stash of old parts and tooling for the Viper. The stash would then be sold by the newly formed Viper Parts of America, a company that was supposed to be run by Marshall, Jalopnik reports.
This sounds like shady business to us - at the very least a conflict of interest. And it's said that the VCA will not hesitate to suspend - for a year or more - the memberships of those who oppose it.
With recent news that the Secret Service has begun soliciting proposals for a new armored limousine, we've been wondering what the next presidential limo might look like. The current machine, nicknamed "The Beast", has a design based on a car that's no longer sold: the Cadillac DTS. If General Motors gets the job again, which wouldn't be a surprise considering the government still owns a chunk of the company, the next limo's shape would likely resemble the new XTS (below, left). But Cadillac hasn't always been the go-to car company for presidential whips.
Lincoln has actually provided far more presidential limousines throughout history than Cadillac. In fact, the first car modified for Commander-in-Chief-carrying duty was a 1939 Lincoln K-Series called "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the last Lincoln used by a president was a 1989 Town Car ordered for George H.W. Bush. If President Obama wanted a Lincoln today, it would likely be an amalgam of the MKS sedan and MKT crossover, as illustrated above.
And what about Chrysler? The only record we could find of a President favoring the Pentastar is Nixon, who reportedly ordered two limos from the company during his administration in the '70s, and then another one, known today as the "K-Car limo," in the '80s after he left office. Obama, however, has a personal - if modest - connection to Chryslers, having owned a 300 himself before he took office. A 300-based Beast (above, right) would certainly earn the U.S. some style points.