Chrysler makes second recall of 703,000 vehicles over faulty ignition switch

WASHINGTON: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is doing a second recall of 703,000 minivans and SUVs with a defective ignition switch that can rotate out of position, similar to the faulty General Motors Co part tied to dozens of deaths.

The action covers the 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Journey, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a document posted on its website on Friday.

The company previously tried to fix the switch defect, which can lead vehicles to stall, lose power and disable their air bags, in recalls announced in 2011 and 2014.

GM's ignition-switch defect, now linked to 57 deaths in crashes, led to the recall of 2.59 million small cars. Disclosures about the company's delays in announcing a recall spurred four congressional hearings and a then-record US$35mil fine.

Chrysler in the earlier recall tried adding a trim ring to prevent inadvertent key rotation. A NHTSA investigation begun last year concluded that repair wasn’t working. The wireless ignition module will now be replaced in all recalled vehicles.

No fatalities have been reported in the Chrysler or Dodge vehicles. The defect has been tied to one crash, which didn’t involve injuries.

NHTSA's probe into the Chrysler vehicles began after the GM ignition-switch disclosures last year. The agency contacted all major automakers about whether vehicle stalls might affect air-bag performance.

Chrysler determined that these three vehicles’ air bags function for two-tenths of a second if the ignition switch moves to the accessory or off position. — Bloomberg

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