FCA recalling 7,700 Grand Cherokee, Durango vehicles

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is recalling 7,700 new SUVs because of potential braking and other problems — and warning 65 owners to stop driving immediately.

The automaker issued an urgent warning telling about 65 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUV owners in the U.S. to stop driving their vehicles.

The SUVs, assembled in June over an eight-day period, are being recalled “because they may have been inadvertently equipped with improperly heat-treated suspension components. This condition, which was not apparent during the assembly process, could lead to component breakage, rear-end instability and/or reduced braking power,” the company said, adding it was unaware of any crashes or injuries.

Included in the recall are 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durango SUVs assembled from June 12 through June 20. While 5,608 are believed to be in the U.S., it’s estimated that 255 are in Canada and 65 are in Mexico. An estimated 1,829 are destined for markets outside the NAFTA region, but they have not been shipped and await inspection.

The component supplier discovered a potential problem during an internal quality review, which prompted a review by Fiat Chrysler. Out of an abundance of caution, Fiat Chrysler halted vehicle shipments from its assembly plant.

Production has since resumed with components that adhere to the automaker’s manufacturing specifications.

“However, because the supplier’s production anomaly was detected quickly, the number of vehicles actually affected by the suspect components is estimated to be no more than 13 percent of the total,” Fiat Chrysler said.

The automaker said “the larger population is limited to vehicles that are not yet in service. They are in dealer hands or are in transit to dealers. Their locations are precisely known. All will be inspected and serviced — if necessary — before delivery or sale,” the company said.

Fiat Chrysler is phoning those customers who have taken delivery to arrange on-site vehicle inspections. If an inspection determines a vehicle is equipped with a suspect component, the vehicle will be transported to a dealership for service.

Owners can determine if they are part of the recall by entering their vehicle identification numbers in the online search engines at http://recalls.mopar.com/ or https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

Last week, the company said it was 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 2014-15 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.

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.

Fiat Chrysler faces a Thursday 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 last week announced it was opening two new investigations into Fiat Chrysler vehicles.