The embattled Fiat arm of the Fiat Chrysler car group took another hit this week, as almost a million and a half cars were recalled by the company. Fire hazards and airbag concerns are to blame. The recall campaigns, though simultaneous, are unrelated to each other. Gildshire Magazines looked deeper into the issue for today’s report.
The Italian-American automaker said it is recalling about 770,000 sport utility vehicles because of a wiring problem. Inadvertent deployment of the driver-side air bag is the issue. So far, no crashes have taken place. However, five injuries have occurred.
The company said wiring could rub against pieces of steering-wheel trim. That could cause a short-circuit and ultimately lead to an inadvertent air bag deployment. The issue could also cause unintended windshield wiper operation or inoperable switches.
The automaker is also recalling 565,000 vehicles to replace their alternators because of fire risks. The company said hot ambient temperatures could lead to premature diode wear. This may result in a burning odor or smoke and could impact the antilock braking system or lead to engine stalls.
The recall covers 2011-2014 model year Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger cars and Dodge Durango SUVs and 2012-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. Owners should get in touch with the dealership if the company hasn’t already alerted them of the recall.
In October, Fiat Chrysler recalled about 86,000 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, and 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs from the 2007-2013 model years. These were in addition to the recall of 2011-2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit sedans for the same alternator issue.
The latest recalls underscore Fiat Chrysler’s perception problem among the car-buying public. Long known as stylish and cool, Dodge’s penchant for unreliability continues to plague the company. Fiat has battled the same perception. The Fiat 500’s omnipresence on the “Least Reliable” lists only exacerbate the issue. Either company, alone, would want to get off the naughty list. The presence of both Chrysler and Fiat on the list bodes ill for the struggling automaker. We will continue to watch for changes as they come about. Fiat Chrysler hopes those reports are forthcoming quickly.