US safety regulators expand inquiry on fires involving Jeep Wrangler

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 14, 2012

Safety regulators in the United States are expanding their investigation, which was launched on March 28, into the fires related to the 2010 Jeep Wrangler SUV after getting another complaint of a blaze near or in the engine compartment. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requesting Chrysler Group to hand over any fire reports or customer complaints which involved Jeep Wranglers in the model years 2007-09 and 2011-12.

Nine reports of fires involving the 2010 Jeep Wrangler have already been received by NHTSA so far. The agency continues to focus its inquiry on the 2010 model.

The agency said in a letter sent to Chrysler that it wants the automaker to turn over any information involving the alleged defect for the additional model years. Chrysler is expected to respond by May 22. Chrysler said that it is "cooperating fully" with NHTSA, emphasizing that the matter is a preliminary investigation and not a recall.

The company further highlighted that NHTSA has not officially expanded the investigation to include the 2011-12 and 2007-09 Wranglers, but is just seeking additional information regarding those vehicles.

NHTSA's investigation commenced in March after receiving eight reports regarding an engine area blaze. The inquiry encompasses around 100,000 SUVs. There were no fatalities or injuries reported with the incidents. In one complaint, however, a driver reported that an unknown liquid was seen burning down to the ground from the engine area. The Wrangler was reported as a total loss.

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