Consumer Group Urges Recall of Chrysler Minivans
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Consumer Group Urges Recall of Chrysler Minivans

Friday, March 09, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

A recall can transpire in a number of scenarios. Sometimes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiates a car’s recall. In other cases, automakers undertake a recall voluntarily. Recently the consumer advocacy group, Center for Auto Safety, has requested that NHTSA look into complaints that the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan stalls without warning. The group has also filed a petition with NHTSA to encourage the recall of 150,000 affected Chrysler cars.

Federal regulations permit anyone to file a petition with NHTSA to ask for an investigation into a potential safety hazard. The agency must examine the complaint and determine whether to comply with the request. If it does, the NHTSA begins a “preliminary evaluation” of the complaint.

The Center for Auto Safety alleges the following: more than 50 people have reported that their 2017 Chrysler Pacificas lost power without warning. Drivers were unable to accelerate, brake or steer the vehicle. Serious injuries and death can result when vehicles stop operating with no warning. The drivers who have complained of sudden stalling claim that their cars have lost power at differing speeds – anywhere from a parked position to driving at 60 mph. Some owners reported that this defect occurred multiple times within the first 200 miles. Others reported that the first incident did not occur until the car had been driven for several thousand miles.

Chrysler responded that it was unaware of any injuries associated with this problem. Chrysler has also been unable to identify the source of the issue. Several methods have been used to address the problem by technicians but with varying success, since an exact diagnosis has not been made. The petitioners allege that even if Chrysler cannot determine the source of the defect, there is still legal precedent for NHTSA to go ahead and take action.

Chrysler’s response has been lackadaisical according to the advocacy group. Chrysler engineers and local technicians have recommended that Pacifica owners continue to use their cars until they experience sudden stalling again. This drew criticism from the Center for Auto Safety which called the recommendation “reckless, irresponsible, and reflect[ing] a wanton disregard for the safety of individual Pacifica drivers, their passengers, and others with whom the Pacifica shares the road.”

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