Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it has opened an investigation into select 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee models. In all, the NHTSA is calling 146,000 Grand Cherokee units to the carpet after it received three separate complaints from people who claim that the headliner caught fire near the passenger side sun visor.
“The customers reported a burning odor and visible smoke coming from the headliner while the vehicle was being driven. This was followed by flames from the headliner itself. Customers lowered the windows in an effort to clear the smoke but this increased the fire’s intensity. All three vehicles had to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher or by the fire department as they continued to burn after the vehicle was turned off,” NHTSA said to The Detroit News. “The fire also caused the sunroof to shatter in one incident, and in another, the fire spread to the passenger seat when the burning sun visor fell onto the seat. In each case, the incident resulted in the vehicle being inoperable requiring it to be towed to the dealership.”
Chrysler spokesman Eric Maybe released a statement saying that the automaker is working with the NHTSA to get to the root of the issue. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been the subject of a few different safety investigations and recalls lately. Recently Chrysler recalled 1.56 million Grand Cherokee made between 1992 and 1998 and Liberty models manufactured between 2002 and 2007. Chrysler is also kicking off a service campaign that will include about 1.2 million Grand Cherokee units built from 1999 to 2004 to replace trailer hitches. Lastly, the NHTSA had also looked into about 2.4 million Grand Cherokee models made from 1993 to 2001 for posing a fire risk with a gas tank that sat behind the rear axle. However, that investigation never made it into the recall stage.
According to the NHTSA’s David Strickland, speaking with The Detroit News, it’s unknown if the safety agency will conduct any further crash testing on the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Strickland did say, however, that Chrysler is cooperating
“The work is ongoing,” Strickland told The Detroit News. “While we do not approve remedies and we do not suggest remedies. We always do take a look at whether we think the remedy is effective for the issue for which that we’ve made the ask for.”
“There’s a lot of data and Chrysler is being very cooperative in giving us more data,” said Strickland.