Oakland, Maryland, United States
In the market for a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Dodge Durango? Well, if you fancy a more expressive color for your new SUV, you'd better get your order in, or plan on waiting until well into 2015.
The SUVs will be limited to just four monochromatic shades - black, white, silver and gray - until at least February, thanks to an upgrade to the paint shop at the two vehicles' Jefferson North factory. For the Grand Cherokee, that means it's losing more than half its color palette while the Durango is dropping two-thirds of its color catalog.
The loss of colors is inconvenient, but the upgrade will have a slightly bigger effect on the overall supply of SUVs, as Chrysler will need to end its relentless build pace at the factory for a three-week shutdown starting on December 22. The good news for fans of the SUVs is that once the work is completed, we should see a gradual expansion of the color palettes for both the Durango and Grand Cherokee, beyond even what's offered now.
It has been over a year since Chrysler first announced its recall of 3,660 2003-2004 Dodge Vipers because the airbag could suddenly deploy. The repairs are finally beginning, and it appears to be a nightmare for mechanics.
According to the automaker's filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the airbag control module can fail, which causes the bag or the seatbelt pre-tensioner to deploy without warning. It took over a year to design the new parts, according to The New York Times. However, Chrysler finally has a new "jumper harness with an in-line diode filter circuit" ready to fix the problem.
The dilemma now moves to the mechanics who have to actually install the part. A 47-step guide from Chrysler explains that the procedure should take about two hours. It's not an easy job, though. Most of the dashboard has to be taken apart, and the instructions include this helpful bit of advice: "Installing the jumper harness and filter box into position is not an easy task. Patience, perseverance, and small hands are required." We wish the best of luck to them. The fix comes just in time for the Vipers to enjoy the summer sun.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation focusing on 110,000 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups from model years 2004 to 2006. One death has already been reported, according to NHTSA, due to a potential fault with the clutch interlocks on manual-transmission versions of the heavy duty pickup.
According to the report, these trucks can be started without depressing the clutch. There have been three reports so far, and as we mentioned above, one very sad incident seems to have resulted in the death of a child.
"One complaint involved an incident that occurred when a child was able to enter the vehicle and start the ignition without depressing the clutch. The vehicle then moved forward striking another child resulting in a fatality," NHTSA said in the investigation bulletin, which you can view below.