For Sale By:Private Seller
Options: 4-Wheel Drive
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Power Options: Power Seats
Interior Color: Burgundy
Number of Cylinders: 8
Alden, Iowa, United States
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into headliner fires experienced by a small number of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango owners has been upgraded to an engineering analysis, the step before the initiation of a recall. In August last year the investigation began with 146,000 Grand Cherokees from 2012 after three complaints were received, but a report on Edmunds says it has been expanded to include 593,299 vehicles covering the 2011-2013 model years for the Jeep and the Dodge Durango, which uses the same headliner assembly, because of possibly 52 incidents of fire.
In some of those incidents drivers have reported a burning odor, smoke or open flames that were contained to the headliner or migrated to another area of the passenger compartment. The culprit has apparently been found: NHTSA blaming an electrical short in the sun visor vanity light wiring, which is routed under the headliner and held in place by three screws. Chrysler began its own probe into the issue when it was first reported and is still looking into the situation while, "fully supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation."
Jeep's saga with the National Traffic Safety Administration and the voluntary campaign to repair 1.56 million vehicles for allegedly unsafe trailer hitches, is getting yet another chapter. The controversy appeared to finally be over in January when the automaker found a supplier for the replacement parts. Nothing is ever that easy, though, and the government regulator is now requesting documents from the company to clarify why the repairs are taking so long to begin.
Jeep parent company Chrysler has until July 16 to submit documents and answers to NHTSA explaining the situation. The regulator claims that despite its compromise to inspect and repair the models with improper hitches in June 2013, Chrysler didn't find a part supplier until December and didn't order the replacements until January. The government agency believes that the first components weren't manufactured until May of this year and vehicles may not actually be repaired until as late as August. According to the report, if the Chrysler doesn't supply what NHTSA is asking for, the agency could "take additional appropriate action as warranted."
Throughout this entire process, Chrysler has asserted that the vehicles met the applicable crash test standards of the time, and it has kept NHTSA abreast of the repair activity. In a recently released statement it said that the regulator analyzed eight rear impact reconstruction tests and found the replacement hitch to be safe. To keep up with the high demand for replacements, Chrysler is working with multiple suppliers, and they are running three shifts, six days a week to get the parts ready as soon as possible.
The long-awaited baby Jeep is getting closer to production, as evidenced by these spy photos. Previously, the only images of the so-called Jeepster saw it wearing a Fiat 500L body (see below), while this new batch of photos show hefty amounts of camouflage. How is that better? Well, it's very likely there's a production body hiding under all that cladding.
While picking out styling details is virtually impossible thanks to all the camo, as our spies point out, this gives us a very sound idea of the Jeepster's final size. It's small, although we'd argue that it's only slightly smaller than the current Jeep Patriot, based on the images of the newest Jeep sitting in front of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
As we reported previously, this little bambino will be built on a Fiat platform, but the styling should be uniquely Jeep - likely to include a somewhat vertical seven-slat grille and round headlights. We can expect to see a production Jeepster, if that ends up being the actual name (Latitude has been rumored, although as that's traditionally a trim level, we imagine there'd be some confusion), when it debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.