RISK OF LOST ENGINE POWER: Chrysler is recalling 349 442 vehicles made before May 12 2008, among them Jeep Grand Cherokees.Image: AP / Aaron Favila
NEW YORK - Chrysler recalled almost 350 000 older-model cars on Thursday (September 26) over ignition-switch problem that could cause a loss of engine power or reduced braking power.
Chrysler South Africa reports that local owners are affected.
The automaker, now part of Italian-based Fiat Chrysler, said it would correct a switch defect "that may cause ignition keys to become stuck or move".
The automaker said it knew of one "minor" crash that was possibly related to the problem but that it was "unaware of any related injuries".
'ON/OFF' KEY ISSUE
The problem is similar to that which led General Motors to recall 2.6-million cars so far in 2014 a decade or more after the company became aware of the flawed part. The largest US automaker has acknowledged 21 deaths to date that resulted from the faulty ignition problem.
Chrysler's safety recall affects 349 442 cars made before May 12 2008.
Chrysler said the recall affected Dodge Charger sedans, Dodge Magnum station wagons, Chrysler 300 sedans and Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles.
Chrysler SA reports: "We are expecting this to affect vehicles locally - Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander as well as the Chrysler 300C.
"As soon as the vehicles have been identified and the parts, where relevant have been received, clients will be contacted and the solution will be carried out."
In July 2014 Chrysler recalled about 790 000 Jeep SUV units from model years 2006/07 to fix an ignition problem that allowed the key to move unintentionally from the "on" position.
In its latest recall, Chrysler said an ignition keys might not fully return to the "on" position after being turned to the "start" position, potentially causing a loss of windshield defroster and wiper function.
In a "less probable" circumstance, it said, the key may inadvertently slip from "on" to "accessory" or "off", reducing braking power and cutting engine power, power steering and one or more of the cars' safety features, among them front air bags.
While waiting their vehicles to be fixed "owners of these models are advised to confirm their ignition keys are set in the 'on' position after starting their vehicle," reports Chrysler.