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Jeep Wrangler recalls – U.S. v. China

While China Whas become known to Americans as a place that produces inferior products- it has proven to be a place that protects people from these inferior products with more quickness and efficiency than the U.S.  When is comes to 2012 Jeep Wrangler Recalls, they have proven to have a much more hands-on approach to product recalls than the United States.  According to Safety Research and Strategies, Inc.:

In November 2011, the Chinese government strongly suggested that Chrysler recall its 2008 – 2010 Jeep Wrangler models because the skid plate and exhaust configuration allowed debris to collect in the undercarriage of the vehicle while off-roading, allowing the catalytic converter to ignite the dried grass. The recommendation came after consumers filed three fire complaints in the month of October alone. Chrysler tried to argue that only the 2010 MY Wrangler posed uniquely defective underbody conditions, but the Chinese government lit a fire under the automaker to recall the 2008 and 2009 model years as well. Owners of those Jeep Wranglers got the skid plate replaced by the new skid bar, which didn’t allow debris to accumulate.

On April 12, 2012 NewsChannel 36 in Charlotte North Carolina, investigated a sudden Jeep Wrangler fire in theU.S., which if inChina, would have been protected.  What’s even more ironic is that the accident took place just one day after the U.S. safety regulators said they were expanding an investigation on these fires.

 Mike Embry of Huston,Texas said, he smelled smoke and found his Jeep with “just big bright orange flames shooting from under the hood” just four hours after he came home from buying his new 2012 vehicle.”  The vehicle had only 17 miles on it. Reports from Newschannel 5 say, “Many of the fires are similar.  They’re sudden, they start near the engine and they are happening in different parts of the country, including at least two in North Carolina.  But the federal investigation isn’t a recall and Chrysler is quick to say that vehicle fires are complex.” While the safety issues are being researched in the U.S., they have already been taken care of in China.  Perhaps issues like this have something to do with the time restrictions the U.S. has on such matter, According to Safety Research and Strategies, Inc.:

If you own a Jeep Wrangler in the U.S., you’d have to wait until March 28, 2012 for NHTSA to catch on that underbody fires were afflicting the substantially similar vehicles in the U.S. That’s when the Office of Defects Investigations opened a Preliminary Evaluation, after fielding eight fire complaints dating back to October 2010. But the ink was barely dry on ODI’s information request, when Chrysler announced on May 8 that it was recalling 68,000 MY 2010 Jeep Wranglers to get the same remedy that Jeep owners in China got – although U.S. owners of the 2008 and 2009 were out of luck.

The idea that China had this problem recognized before the U.S. feels troubling and what’s even more troubling are the questions that still need to be answered in reference to auto-mobile safety.

How come it took ODI five months to investigate, when three quarters of the complaints cited occurred before or immediately after the Chinese recall?  And while we’re asking questions, why hasn’t Chrysler been fined for failing to file a defect report in the U.S. within five days of initiating a foreign recall for the same vehicle, with the same alleged defect and the same remedy – as required? (Safety Research and Strategies, Inc.)

Last modified on March 1, 2016. Published by Friedman, Domiano & Smith Co., L.P.A.

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