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Chrysler is being targeted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a pair of actions that focus on over 1.2 million Jeeps, minivans and crossovers.
The first is a "preliminary investigation" that focuses on an airbag issue afflicting the Jeep Commander built in model years 2006 and 2007 and Grand Cherokee from 2005 to 2006. In total, 700,000 vehicles could potentially be affected. It's not entirely clear what the airbag issue is, with The Detroit Free Press simply stating that the restraint systems in the affected Jeeps may be "faulty."
The other investigation is what's called a "recall query" and it covers a problem that General Motors should be familiar with. In this case, there could be a problem with the ignition switches of 525,000 vehicles, ranging from 2008 to 2010 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, to the 2008 to 2010 Dodge Journey crossover. Again, it's not entirely clear what sort of behavior prompted the 32 complaints that NHTSA has received on these vehicles.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've no doubt read about all of the big future product news coming out of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today. We had individual brand reports from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and even Ferrari, but in the interest of simplifying and summarizing, we're going to list out the hard facts once more. Of course, with all of this still off in the future, there's still the possibility that a few changes will be made. But as of what we know right now, here's what's coming, and what's going away.
2014: Refreshed 300/300C, debuting at Los Angeles Auto Show
The Center for Auto Safety is officially petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin scrutinizing alleged problems with the totally integrated power module (TIPM) on about 24 Chrysler Group SUVs and minivans. The advocacy group claims that the part's failure can cause affected vehicles to stall or not start at all. NHTSA is still looking into the accusations and deciding whether a full investigation is actually warranted.
The CAS petition claims at least 70 TIPM failures, but according to NHTSA, six of the complaints are for models that don't have the modules. In 34 of the reported cases, the vehicles refused to start, and in 17 of them the engine stalled. There were also two allegations of smoke and one of a fire. However, none of these affected airbag deployment or resulted in a crash.
This petition isn't the first TIPM-related problem for Chrysler Group. A recent report in the New York Times alleged that it found 240 complaints potentially related to the issue on NHTSA's website alone. In September, the automaker also recalled 230,760 examples worldwide (188,723 in the US) of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango replace the fuel pump relay circuit inside of the TIPM-7 with one external to the unit. The original part could allegedly cause the models to stall without warning. Even earlier, the company also recalled about 80,000 examples of the Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Nitro in 2007 to have the module reprogrammed.