The public might associated ignition switch recalls with General Motors - and with good cause - but that's not the only automaker calling its vehicles back in to fix that sort of issue.
Last month we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating an array of Chrysler Group vehicles for electrical-related safety issues. The administration and Chrysler subsequently issued a recall for 700,000 Dodge Journey crossovers, Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. But while the Jeeps that were also under investigation were not covered in that recall, they are being addressed in a separate one now.
Although Chrysler reports that it is only aware of a single accident stemming from this issue, it is "committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution." The recall affects the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, of which it reports there are 792,300 on the road: 649,900 in the United States, 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico and a further 100,800 outside of North America.
Chrysler is calling in the affected units for similar reasons it recalled the aforementioned minivans and crossovers, and for which GM has recalled millions of its vehicles: namely, that the ignition could be accidentally turned off due to excess weight (like other keys and fobs) attached to the ignition key, or from contact with the driver's knee. As a result, the engine could stall, the power brakes and steering could be disabled and the front airbags may deactivate. The automaker says its "engineers are working to develop a remedy" for the issue.
In an entirely separate announcement, Chrysler is also calling in approximately 21,000 late-model vehicles to inspect and potentially replace their shocks and/or struts. The company reports that a supplier found that the suspension components could "break free from their mounts, which could potentially lead to reduced shock damping and possible loss of vehicle control." The vehicles affected include the 2014 Ram 1500, 2015 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Chrysler 200 - specifically those built in the 16 days leading up to June 6, 2014. Read the full details of both recalls in the announcements below.
Continue reading Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs
You may remember that Jeep's unusual fix for this recall involves fitting a trailer hitch.
The recall of about 1.5 million models of the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty and 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee over fuel tanks may finish far sooner than originally estimated. In a new filing from Jeep's parent, Chrysler Group, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company says that it can complete the repairs for the affected vehicles by March 2015, much sooner than the previous estimate of sometime in 2018. Jeep predicts the total cost of the campaign will be around $151 million.
You may remember that Jeep's unusual fix for this recall, which centers on the potential vulnerability of these vehicles' fuel tanks, involves fitting a trailer hitch. According toChrysler's letter to the government safety watchdog, the quicker pace is because Chrysler Group was able to take advantage of additional robots from its hitch supplier. The extra production capacity will allow the timeline to speed up considerably. In addition, the automaker believes that there are fewer Jeeps actually needing fixes than the number recalled because some of them aren't on the road anymore. Repairs are still scheduled to begin in August.
NHTSA previously gave Jeep until July 16 to answer the regulator's questions. Washington authorities were especially curious as to why it took the automaker until last December to find a parts supplier and until January 2014 to order the hitches. The explanations to these questions were redacted from the new document, though. At the time, NHTSA threatened that it could "take additional appropriate action as warranted."
The whole hullabaloo between Jeep and NHTSA goes back to June 2013 when the automaker reluctantly decided not to honor a recall request from the regulator. Jeep has maintained that the affected vehicles met all applicable safety regulations at the time. The two sides eventually compromised on a campaign to cover the roughly 1.5 million SUVs. Scroll down to read brief statement from Chrysler Group about the recall, and the company's answers to NHTSA can be downloaded as a redacted document in PDF format, here.
Continue reading Chrysler accelerates Jeep recall repairs from 2018 to March
Jeep fans in Australia are none too happy with the off-road brand following a contest that saw ten new Cherokees sold for just $10,000 Australian (about $9,400), roughly a quarter of the vehicle's price Down Under.
The contest, called the "World's Most Remote Dealership," gave Aussies the chance to snag an ultra-affordable Cherokee Longitude (analogous to the US-spec Latitude trim), provided they could get to a secret dealership in the remote wilderness of western New South Wales, near the border with the state of South Australia.
In order to get the exact location of the dealership, though, potential customers needed to download an app, which would release a phone number 9:00 AM AEST on Thursday (7:00 PM EDT, Wednesday night). The first ten people who could call in and prove they could afford to finance $10,000 and get to the remote dealership, were given the location of the remote dealership.
The only problem is that the phone number to call in was leaked out on an Internet forum the night before. That's left some contest participants crying foul, despite the fact that the lines themselves didn't open until 9:00 AM AEST, according to CarAdvice, who spoke to Jeep Australia's director of corporate affairs, Karla Leach.
Over 49,000 people downloaded the app and the call center responsible for the contest recorded 30,000 phone calls, with winners coming from all six Australian states. Aside from the leaked number, congestion on the phone lines was an issue, as well.
Many Australians voiced their frustration on the company's Facebook page.
"Absolute farce, number wouldn't even connect let alone ring," one commenter wrote. "Truly a waste of my time ?Jeep Australia. How could you go through with the promo knowing full well the number had been leaked? Makes me feel a sense of animosity towards the Jeep brand," wrote another. There was also talk from some commenters of a class-action lawsuit.
Jeep, though, seems to think that some of the sour grapes are simply due to those who didn't win.
"We are overwhelmed with the amazing participation in the Jeep 'The World's Most Remote Dealership' promotion. There were over 30,000 calls made this morning for the chance to buy just 10 vehicles. So we can understand that some people are disappointed that were not successful," Leach told CarAdvice.
What do you think? Is Jeep at fault for the number being leaked? Does it even matter, since the lines didn't open until a pre-determined time? Scroll down and have a look at the event's commercial, and then have your say in Comments.
Continue reading Australian Jeep marketing stunt goes awry [w/video]
Dodge and Jeep are announcing recalls of a total of 895,000 Durango and Grand Cherokee models worldwide from the 2011 through 2014 model years. There's a possibility that the wiring in the sun visor can short circuit and cause a fire. It specifically affects vehicles built between January 5, 2010, and December 11, 2013, and there are approximately 651,000 of them in the US, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside of North America.
Screws that fasten the sunvisor to the headliner may pierce wires in the visor, if the part has been removed or serviced, potentially causing a fire risk. If the wires short circuit, they could overheat and potentially combust. The automakers report three injuries caused by this defect, and according to the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "there may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents."
To fix the problem, Dodge and Jeep will inspect the vehicles for suspect wiring, and all of the models, whether damaged or not, will get a new sun visor spacer with a wire guide to stop the possibility of short circuits. According to the automakers' announcement, "this condition is not present in vehicles which have not had the headliner or vanity mirror serviced." They will notify affected owners, and repairs will begin in August.
NHTSA began its investigation into the potential problems last year. It initially started with only the Grand Cherokee, but the Dodge Durango was added later as well because it uses the same headliner assembly. Scroll down to read the automakers' announcement, the NHTSA recall report and a summary of the regulator's investigation. The full defect notice can be downloaded as a PDF, here.
Continue reading Dodge and Jeep recalling 895k SUVs for possibility of headliner fires
I got a text message from Editor-In-Chief Sharon Carty one afternoon proclaiming that her new favorite SUV is our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee. And she's not alone. I'm not sure if anyone else on staff would go so far as to use the "favorite" descriptor, but after just over a month of honeymooning with our new long-termer, it's safe to say that the Jeep is quickly finding its way into the good graces of a number of Autoblog staffers.
There's good reason for all that praise, too. Thus far, the Jeep has proven itself to be incredibly competent and comfortable for daily life - it's functional, quiet, and packed with a host of amenities that make it easy to live with. It's been wholly trouble-free (with less than 4,000 miles on the clock as of this writing, it ought to be), but even nitpicks have been few and far between.
Back in May, there was speculation that the Detroit Three automakers would maintain or perhaps even extend their traditional summer shutdowns, mostly due to a bitingly cold winter that saw below-freezing temperatures infiltrate the southernmost reaches of the US, putting a chill on auto sales. Now, though, the numbers are in, and thanks to some promising sales figures, it looks like some domestic line workers are going to be working clear through July, in some cases.
According to Automotive News, Ford has slashed its traditional two-week hiatus for factory workers in half at four of its plants, while both Chrysler and General Motors will keep factories running nonstop (two plants in Chrysler's case and a third of GM's factories).
This is, as we said, thanks to some positive numbers. Chief among those is the Seasonal Adjusted Annual Rate, which was at an eight-year high of 17 million units. Individual figures were less promising. GM, embroiled in its recall scandal, still saw a one-percent increase while Ford dropped six percent in year-over-year sales. Chrysler was the big winner, though, with a nine-percent jump in June.
As for which factory workers will be burning their summer days indoors, Ford will trim the vacations of the teams at its Chicago and Kansas City, as well as both of its Louisville, KY plants. Those factories cover the Ford Taurus, Explorer, F-Series, Escape and Expedition, as well as their Lincoln counterparts.
Chrysler's Jefferson North and Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, in Detroit and metro Detroit, respectively, will remain open. Jefferson manufactures the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, while SHAP is home to the Chrysler 200. GM, meanwhile, is set to maintain production at its truck and SUV factories in Arlington, TX (Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade), Bowling Green, KY (Chevy Corvette) and Flint, MI (Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra).
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 argument between the Chrysler and NHTSA goes back to June 2013 when the automaker made the atypical decision to deny the recall request for the 2002-2007 Liberty and 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee. The regulator believed that the trailer hitch could puncture the fuel tank in a rear-end crash, which could lead to a fire. NHTSA originally requested about 2.7 million Jeeps be recalled, but eventually compromised down to a voluntary campaign for about 1.5 million vehicles. Scroll down to read Chrysler's official statement about the investigation.
Continue reading NHTSA investigating why Jeep recall fix is taking so long
You truly have to love surfing to practice the sport in the United Kingdom. The area isn't exactly teeming with warm beaches full of sunbathers, and absolutely no easy spots to find big waves. To be a UK surfer, you need to be a fearless adventurer, not to mention quite lucky. And driving a Jeep might help, too.
Surfers Oli Adams and Micah Lester are traveling around the British Isles in a Jeep Wrangler Overland trying to find the best surf spots out there. These guys don't fit the laid-back surfer stereotype, but that's because finding waves in the UK is hard work. They say that the waves at some of these spots only exist for about three hours every year when the current and winds are just right.
To find these surf spots, the Jeep's offroad capabilities are paramount. In some areas, as you'll see in the video, there isn't even a beach, just jagged rocks. It would be like the movie Endless Summer, that is, if it could start snowing at any moment. These guys are clearly dedicated to their sport.
Scroll down to watch Adams and Lester surf where it doesn't seem possible, and if you want to know more about their adventures you can read a Jeep-sponsored article about it at Surf Europe.
Continue reading Finding surfing spots in the UK is tough work, even in a Jeep
Okay Jeep fans, you want more diesel options? Time to step up and prove it. The only way Jeep will offer a diesel powerplant in the Cherokee, according to brand head Mike Manley, is if sales of the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel nearly double.
Currently, about eight percent of the Grand Cherokees sold feature the 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V6. That's simply not enough to warrant the bringing an oil-burning Cherokee to the US market, despite the vehicle's presence in Europe, where it's sold with a 2.8-liter diesel V6.
"Cherokee is slightly different because of its weight and size. When I think about bringing Cherokee diesel here, I would like to see Grand Cherokee diesel get much higher than eight percent," Manley told Automotive News. "It would have to be in mid-double digits."
Part of the problem in our estimation, aside from the high price of diesel fuel, is that the EcoDiesel Grand Cherokee is a pretty pricey proposition. It's only available on the Limited model and above, which starts at $36,495 for a two-wheel-drive example. Adding the diesel then adds a whopping $4,500 onto the price.
Only Audi demands a higher premium for its diesel Q7, at $5,200 on some trim levels. A diesel Mercedes-Benz M-Class is only $4,000 more than the gas model, while BMW is unbelievably reasonable, demanding a mere $1,500 premium for a diesel X5. If Jeep could at least trim some of the price premium and offer the EcoDiesel on lesser trim levels, we could see its popularity expanding.
Episode #387 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing and Michael Zak talk about more General Motors recalls, upgrades and a diesel for the 2015 Ford Focus ST, and the BMW M235i scoring ahead of the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in Consumer Reports testing. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #387:
GM recalls 8.4M more cars in North America
Ford Focus ST upgrades and diesel
CR says M235i is better than 911
In the Autoblog Garage:
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
2014 Honda Accord Coupe V6 6MT
Long-Term 2015 Subaru WRX
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Michael Zak
Intro & Garage - 00:00
GM Recalls - 26:26
2015 Ford Focus ST - 41:56
BMW M235i - 50:24
Q&A - 59:16
Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
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