US auto safety regulators have announced late last week they would begin a probe into the latest Jeep Cherokee model because of customers complaints over engine compartment fires.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a preliminary evaluation – the first step to determine whether a recall would be required in the end – into around 50, 415 newer Cherokee SUVs – a model that is today crucial to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ profitability quota. The 2015 model year SUVs will be investigated because a San Diego owner filed a complaint over the Jeep being “engulfed in flames approximately 20 feet high within seconds of parking the vehicle” – fortunately no injuries were recorded. According to the filed complaint the vehicle was brand new – being acquired on January 2 and with an odometer tally of less than 100 miles as the fire broke out two days later. Another, separate, complaint said on January 5 that the customer of another 2015 Cherokee saw smoke coming from under the hood while the vehicle was being driven at 60 miles per hour.
The NHTSA also used the Early Warning Reporting program to identify further field reporting data that was related to the presumed defect, prompting an investigation to find the cause, scope and frequency of the alleged flaw. The preliminary probe is just the initial step in a process that could ultimately lead to a vehicle recall if the auto safety regulator assesses the manufacturer needs to fix a defect. The Jeep Cherokee, recently launched as a brand new generation back in 2013, has proven so far a crucial model for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plan to promote the Jeep brand at a global level as one of its flagship marquees.