Drive Type: RWD
Columbia Station, Ohio, United States
In a show of generosity in mid-August, Detroit's business leaders donated $8 million to the Police Department and Fire Department in order to buy 100 new police vehicles and 23 EMS ambulances. But now officers have discovered - and complained - that the police vehicles have glaring safety issues, Deadline Detroit reports. It is not made clear what models of the fleet vehicles - which include police versions of the Ford Taurus, the Chevrolet Caprice and the Dodge Charger - are affected by the safety issues.
Officers reportedly have complained that the Plexiglass partition separating front-seat officers and back-seat prisoners is easily breached, and that the front passenger seat is installed too close to the dashboard. Prisoners who manage to writhe out of their handcuffs can bend the Plexiglass and reach into the cockpit, and sitting too close to the dashboard can render airbags more dangerous and make officers more vulnerable to injury in a crash.
Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association, received the complaints and reportedly said the vehicles would get safety updates addressing the issues. But Deadline Detroit reports that it checked some of the offending police cars and, as of the last few days, they hadn't been updated.
Chrysler has announced a recall covering 349,442 vehicles due to ignition switches that can either become stuck or move without warning. All of the affected vehicles are from the 2008 model year, and were built before May 12, 2008.
The automaker has learned that ignition keys on some vehicles "may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position during engine-startup," the company said in a statement. Additionally, "an ignition key may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position and may inadvertently move through the 'ON' position to 'ACCESSORY' or 'OFF.'"
Chrysler says it is unaware of any related injuries, and notes that while reduced braking, engine or steering power is possible in such instances, the airbags are not affected. The later stands in contrast to General Motors' recent rash of high-profile recalls, and it's an important distinction that Chrysler (understandably) felt necessary to call out in bold print in its press release.
As a reporter covering an auto show, the one opportunity you never want to miss is going to the Sergio Marchionne press briefing.
"This undertaking to bring Alfa back is a one-shot deal... We are not going to do this twice."
There just aren't that many real characters left in the auto industry. Marchionne, who sits atop both Chrysler and Fiat, is not only one of the smartest execs in the business, but also the most frank. Herein, a sample of the quotable always-sweatered executive: