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Daimlerchrysler Recalls 07 Wranglers, Nitros

DaimlerChrysler AG recently announced it would recall 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Nitro sport-utility vehicles, both made in Toledo, because an electrical part can cause engine stalling.

Daimler's recall of the 80,894 SUVs came more than a month after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was investigating Wranglers because of complaints. The federal safety agency estimated at that time that about 35,000 of the more than 62,000 Wranglers manufactured at the Toledo Jeep Assembly complex were involved.

The Chrysler Group did not confirm whether the problem part was made by its workers or by a supplier. The company added that owners can bring their vehicles to dealers, at no cost, to have a power module reprogrammed to eliminate 'the potential for a brief interruption of electrical power to the instrument panel and the engine.'

Chrysler, in the process of being sold by DaimlerChrysler, said it will notify owners about the recall later this week and the work will be completed at no cost to consumers. The interruption, the automaker said in a statement, can result in 'a momentary engine stall, although the engine immediately and automatically restarts if the vehicle is in motion.' Notices to vehicle owners are to be sent out starting this week.

The federal safety agency said it had received about 180 complaints of engine stalling in Wranglers and Nitros. Additionally, Chrysler said it had a report of one accident that occurred due to engine stalling in an electrical part in the Nitro, but there were no injuries.

The safety agency, which has been evaluating the scope, frequency, and safety consequences of the complaints, said that owners have reported multiple instances of the stalling. It said it received 12 reports from drivers about simultaneously losing electrical power and vehicle lighting when the engine stalled.

The federal agency's earlier announcement didn't mention Nitros, but Chrysler said those vehicles use the same power module as the Wrangler and there was evidence of inquiries about the problem among Nitro owners.

The Dodge Nitro, a compact SUV, was launched for the 2007 model year at the Chicago Auto Show. It shares its platform with the Jeep Liberty. Same with its siblings, the Nitro SUV features a bunch of state-of-the-art auto parts accessories and amenities. The unit of Chrysler is famed for the production of quality parts like Dodge Neon air filter, engine, radiator, tyres, brakes and more. The nameplate also is popular for its striking styling and dynamic handling.

The Nitro is designed to compete with compact SUVs such as the Nissan Xterra, Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota FJ Cruiser, as well as with compact crossover SUVs such as the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

The new Jeep Wrangler, meanwhile, has been a sell-out hit for the American luxury arm of Daimler, which is being taken private by Cerberus Capital Management in a $7.4 billion deal expected to close this month. Chrysler credited the Wrangler with driving a 19 percent gain in its Jeep brand sales in June in monthly sales results released Tuesday. Sales of the Wrangler in the United States soared 86 percent in this year's first half to 65,651. The Nitro, a new Dodge model, had 37,212 sales.

The Jeep Liberty, made in the same factory as the Nitro, was not mentioned as having a problem. A Chrysler spokesman said he didn't have exact numbers but thought the number of affected Wranglers and Nitros was about equal. The Liberty was introduced for 2002 with styling inspired by the Dakar and Jeepster concept cars. The Liberty was intended as a replacement for the discontinued Jeep Cherokee.

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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