By Ryan Beene, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (July 1, 2014) — Chrysler Group L.L.C. has expanded a recall over ignition-switch issues—similar to those that prompted the General Motors Co. recall crisis—by nearly 700,000 vehicles following an investigation by U.S. safety regulators.
In a statement late June 30, Chrysler said that it would recall an additional 695,957 units of the Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers from the 2008-10 model years because of ignition switches that may slip from the “run” to “accessory” mode, shutting off the engine and deactivating airbags. The statement cited “an abundance of caution.”
The earlier recall covered some 196,000 units from the 2010 model year and the expansion adds vehicles from the 2008 and 2009 model years, Chrysler said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it has received at least 23 complaints from 2008 and 2009 model-year owners alleging defects similar to those that prompted the initial recall of 2010 models.
Of the recalled vehicles, 525,206 are in the United States while 102,892 are in Canada, 25,591 are in Mexico and another 42,268 are outside the NAFTA region.
The affected vehicles have ignition switches that could over-travel after being started and get stuck between the “run” and “accessory” position, even with the engine still running. When stuck, the switches could be jostled loose by bumpy roads or by drivers who bump the ignition module and fall out of “run” position.
“This action will shut off the engine and passive restraint systems, including airbags,” Chrysler said in its statement. Chrysler said dealers will install a new, more robust detent ring in the ignition module to fix the problem.