The Dallas Morning News reported on July 11, 2014 that Chrysler Group (a division of General Motors) is recalling 895,000 SUVs. The recall is due to Chrysler’s need to re-route or replace wiring in vanity-mirror lights that could potentially cause a fire. The wiring is behind the sun visors, and has been found to be prone to short-circuiting. This issue was first investigated by Chrysler in 2011. Repair procedures were revised at least four times between 2011 and 2013.
The latest recall includes all Dodge Durango SUV’s and some Jeep Grand Cherokee models sold from 2011 through 2014 that were previously serviced in a previous recall. Not all Chrysler or Dodge vehicles are included.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that it has received reports of 62 fires and three injuries that may have been caused by the faulty wiring: “Customers reported a range of fire conditions ranging from minor overheating to an open flame at the headliner and/or sun-visor material while driving the vehicle.”
CNN Money says that while Chrysler repaired the vanity mirrors, the wiring may not have been subsequently reassembled properly by the dealer. Improper assembly may result in a fire.
This recall is part of a record breaking number of auto recalls this year. In 2014 alone, GM alone has recalled almost 30 million vehicles. The Detroit automaker has also faced tough criticism after CEO Mary Barra admitted to “a history of failures” at GM stemming from “the recall of millions of vehicles with faulty ignition switches tied to at least 13 deaths.” Federal investigations revealed that GM knew about the problem with the ignition switches for at least ten years.
Other automakers are rethinking their recall procedures in the light of GM’s troubles. CEO of Fiat Chrysler Sergio Marchionne said, “On recall issues, you’re going to see a heightened level of sensitivity. You may see excessive corrective actions. There’s no doubt that the industry is going to have to adjust to a new paradigm. This is permanent.”