Chrysler's Jeep Wrangler (Not Nitro?)
Probed for Engine Stalls
By TERRY KOSDROSKY
DETROIT -- U.S. safety regulators opened a preliminary investigation into the Chrysler Group's 2007 Jeep Wrangler after receiving complaints of engine stall at highway speed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it has received 53 complaints and that a majority said they experienced stalling on more than one occasion. In 12 cases, drivers complained of losing electrical power and lighting at the same time as the stall.
The investigation, which could affect about 35,000 vehicles, was opened May 29 to assess the frequency, scope and safety consequences. No accidents or fatalities were reported, according to the NHTSA report summary on the agency's Web site.
Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said the auto maker is launching its own probe, searching internal records and warranty claims. The company also will test vehicles to see if the condition involved in the complaints can be replicated.
"We're really in the early stages," he said.
The 2007 Jeep Wrangler is one of the hottest sellers in Chrysler's lineup. Sales are up 85% to 54,699 on the year and the model was redesigned for 2007. May sales of the Wrangler more than doubled to 12,332 from the previous year.
The fact that NHTSA opened a probe into a hot-selling model isn't a primary concern, Mr. Gates said. "We take all safety matters seriously," he said. "I think we have to get into this a little further. If there's an issue, we'll have to get it resolved as soon as possible."
The Chrysler Group is the U.S. unit of DaimlerChrysler AG. DaimlerChrysler plans to sell the Chrysler Group to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.