(Adds details, analyst comment, background)
By Rohit T. K.
July 11 Chrysler Group LLC will recall
about 900,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs), its largest recall
this year, weeks before a shareholder meeting called by its
parent Fiat SpA to seek approval for their merger.
Chrysler said some 2011-2014 models of Jeep Grand Cherokee
and Dodge Durango would be recalled to fix the wiring for vanity
mirror lights in sun visors to prevent short circuits and fire.
Automakers including General Motors Co and Ford Motor
Co have been struggling with a host of issues in their
vehicles, recalling more than 25 million vehicles in the United
States this year until June 23.
The latest recall is Chrysler's second big recall in two
weeks, with the company announcing on June 30 an expanded recall
of 695,957 more vehicles over an ignition switch problem in
Automakers are facing increased scrutiny from the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after GM
acknowledged last month that its faulty ignition switches might
have led to at least 16 deaths.
"It's more an issue of being sensitive to the litigation
environment and being more sensitive to legislation environment,
more so than it is an overall quality issue," Morningstar Inc
analyst Richard Hilgert told Reuters.
The NHTSA questioned last week Chrysler's pace of fixing
rear fuel tanks in older model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep
Liberty SUVs and asked the company to produce documents by July
16 to explain the pace of its recall efforts.
The regulator said Chrysler's current pace would take nearly
five years to fix all the affected vehicles involved in the
recall, announced in June last year.
Fiat has called a shareholder meeting on Aug. 1 to approve
its merger with Chrysler. The merged entity, Fiat Chrysler
Automobiles, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange before
the end of this year.
Chrysler's recall on Friday related to short circuits in
cars where the vanity mirror or the roof interior had been
serviced, but the recall included cars that had not been
The automaker said it was aware of three injuries, each of
which involved a vehicle that had the vanity mirror or the roof
Chrysler said its dealers would install a spacer to keep the
wires properly separated and prevent a short circuit.
About 651,000 of the 895,000 vehicles being recalled are in
the United States.
(Additional reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore;
Editing by Kirti Pandey)