Fiat Chrysler recalls 164,000 Cherokee SUVs

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Wednesday it is recalling 164,000 new Jeep SUVs because of the risk of fires from power liftgates exposed to water.

The automaker said the recall of the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee is to install shields to protect power liftgate control modules, and related components, from moisture. The company began investigating after learning of a reported vehicle fire.

The investigation found power liftgate control modules in certain SUVs may be inadvertently exposed to water. This may cause a short-circuit, creating a fire hazard.

There are no reports of injuries or accidents. The recall covers only vehicles with power liftgates. The recall covers 99,436 SUVs in the United States, 13,195 in Canada, 2,406 in Mexico and 48,966 elsewhere.

If the modules show signs of water exposure, they will be replaced. Fiat Chrysler says until the recall is completed, owners should monitor and keep dry the cargo areas.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee — a new mid-size SUV that replaced the Jeep Liberty — has had three prior recalls for air bag, suspension and braking issues.

Fiat Chrysler said the vehicles could experience unexpected side curtain and seat air bag deployment during vehicle operation. It also called vehicles back because of an insufficient weld, where rear shocks may detach from the vehicle at one end and possibly damage other chassis components, the tire or result in reduced braking

In another campaign, when the adaptive cruise control is engaged and the driver presses the accelerator pedal to increase the vehicle's speed more than the cruise control system would on its own, the vehicle may continue to accelerate after the pedal is released.

Fiat Chrysler faces a July 2 hearing in front of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to respond to government concerns about at least 22 recall campaigns covering 12 million vehicles. NHTSA this week announced it was opening two new investigations into Fiat Chrysler vehicles for possible safety issues.