By Gabe Nelson, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (June 7, 2013) — Chrysler Group L.L.C. is recalling more than 220,000 units of the Jeep Wrangler to fix a transmission flaw and 409,000 units of the Jeep Compass and Patriot worldwide to fix a software glitch that could stop airbags and seat belts from working in a crash.
The recalls add to a growing list of safety problems at Chrysler, which stunned the auto industry this week by taking the rare step of rebuffing a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
On June 4, Chrysler refused to recall 2.7 million units of the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty, claiming that the vehicles were built in compliance with safety standards and are not more accident-prone than other vehicles of the time.
Today's recalls are unrelated.
They involve different Jeep models from different model years, and different components of the vehicles. Still, they could compound public concerns about the safety of Jeep vehicles.
The first new recall affects 2012 and 2013 Wranglers with 3.6-liter engines and automatic transmissions. A flaw in vehicles built between Jan. 23, 2011, and Feb. 23, 2013, can cause the power steering line to rub on the transmission oil cooler line, wearing a hole that can leak transmission fluid.
There are 180,131 affected vehicles in the U.S.
The second recall affects all Compass and Patriot vehicles built from May 6, 2008, to July 20, 2012, as part of 2010-12 model years. The seat belt pretensioners and side curtain airbags in these vehicles may not deploy properly in a rollover accident.
There are 254,396 affected vehicles in the U.S.
Chrysler submitted both notices to NHTSA on June 4.
In filings with NHTSA, Chrysler said it first detected the Wrangler defect during an in-house durability test last year, and that the software glitch was first discovered by supplier TRW Global Electronics last year.
The company said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries associated with either of the two defects.
Chrysler plans to start notifying owners of the vehicles in July. Auto dealers will be assigned to replace the power steering return tube assembly in the Wrangler and fix the software glitch in the Compass and the Patriot for free, the car maker said.JEEP RECALL DETAILS
180,131 in U.S.
18,400 in Canada
3,300 in Mexico
18,400 in other countries
254,396 in U.S.
45,400 in Canada
109,400 vehicles in other countries
OVERALL TOTAL: 629,427
This report appeared on autonews.com, the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.