Chrysler is recalling more than 248,000 minivans and crossovers due to problems that could lead the vehicles to unexpectedly stall out – an issue already linked to dozens of complaints and at least two accidents.
The issue appears to be a key that may at times slip out of the “On” position, shutting the vehicle off without warning, Chrysler says, and that could lead to a crash if the problem occurs in traffic. At least two rear-end collisions have been reported to the company, which has also received 32 direct customer complaints and another 465 warranty claims related to the defective ignition switches.
The maker says it will formally issue a recall notice to owners of 248,437 2010-model Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan minivans.
The maker has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as many as 3% of the minivans it produced between August 2009 and June 2010 might experience the defect, which was tracked to a part produced in Mexico.
Recalls will be made free of charge, the maker says.
Automotive recalls have been on the rise lately, last year reaching the highest level since 2004. Part of the problem has been the crackdown at Toyota, which has experienced a variety of problems, including unintended acceleration, excessive corrosion and braking defects. But a number of other makers have also experienced a rise in recalls, Ford so far this year recalling nearly as many vehicles as during all of 2010.
A major reason, industry analysts say, is that makers are now feeling pressure to take aggressive steps to correct issues that might not have triggered recalls, in the past, but just resulted in less public moves, such as Technical Service Bulletins. In such instances, dealers will often make free repairs but makers won’t specifically advise customers to come in for servicing.