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The Detroit News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially closed its investigations into 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2004-2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey models. The separate probes found no issues that pose safety concerns. NHTSA began investigating certain Grand Cherokee SUVs over complaints that power steering hoses could detach during operation, thereby increasing the risk of a vehicle fire. Of the 24 reports of failure, none alleged smoke or fire in the engine bay, and Chrysler has since modified the power steering cooler assembly to reduce the likelihood of the failure.
Meanwhile, certain Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles garnered a government probe after receiving complaints that the models were equipped with faulty scissor jacks. The agency had received six reports of the jacks failing or causing injuries, including one incident that resulted in a fatality. But NHTSA says the jack failure rate is similar to those found in other vehicles. In those six cases, the government agency found the jacks were being used for something other than changing a tire, and investigators could not determine whether the emergency brake was set or the rear tires were properly chocked.
Last year was good to Jeep. Chrysler has announced its trail-rated brand set an all-time global sales record in 2012 by moving 701,626 units. That number easily surpasses the previous record set in 1999 when Jeep sold 675,494 models. All told, the brand saw a 19-percent sales increase worldwide over 2011, and much of that swell can be traced directly to the Wrangler. While the Grand Cherokee led Jeep sales, the Wrangler posted record numbers both globally and within the US, moving 194,142 and 141,669 units in each market, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Compass beat its previous global sales record with 103,321 units rolling off of dealer lots. In the US, Jeep sold 62,010 Patriot units, breaking that model's previous record as well. Jeep's impressive performance in 2012 marks the second year in a row the brand has seen double-digit percentage sales increases. Check out the full press release below.
Chinese buyers will get their first live look at the 2014 Jeep Cherokee during the Shanghai Motor Show, but CarNewsChina is reporting that it will go by a different name - Ziyou Guan, which translates to "Liberty Light." The article states that our Jeep Liberty was never sold in China, but the iconic XJ Cherokee was sold and produced there as the Qinuoji (a phonetic translation of Cherokee).
The new Jeep Liberty Light will be built alongside the Fiat Viaggio (China's Fiat-badged version of the Dodge Dart) at the Guangzhou-Fiat plant, and the two models will share the same powertrains: a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder base engine paired to a five-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (the base engine for the US-spec 2014 Cherokee) as an optional engine. It doesn't sound like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 will be offered in China.
We'll be on hand when the new Jeep debuts in Shanghai, so stay tuned to Autoblog this Friday night and Saturday for our live coverage of the show.