NHTSA launches 5 safety probes covering nearly 1.9 million Stellantis, Ford, GM vehicles


WASHINGTON — U.S. auto safety regulators have opened five separate safety probes into nearly 1.9 million vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Stellantis, according to documents released Tuesday.

The largest of the probes covers an estimated 1.3 million Jeep Cherokees from the 2014-20 model years. Water may leak into those vehicles and cause the electronic parking brake to activate and stop the vehicle while in motion.

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation said it had received 80 complaints about the issue and opened the preliminary evaluation to “assess the scope, frequency and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.”

Separately, the agency is investigating 2016 Dodge Journey and Jeep Compass and Patriot vehicles after receiving 127 complaints alleging crankshaft or camshaft sensor failures that may cause the engine to stall while driving.

FCA US, now Stellantis, recalled certain Journey, Compass and Patriot vehicles manufactured between May 9 and July 15, 2016, for the problem in December 2016. NHTSA said vehicles similar to those identified in the recall, but not included in its scope, also may experience the alleged defect. The agency has opened a recall query into more than 289,000 vehicles for further assessment and to determine whether more vehicles should be recalled.

The agency also is investigating Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid vehicles from the 2019-21 model years after receiving 40 complaints alleging a potential transmission malfunction that may cause a stall or loss of motive power. Most of the alleged incidents occurred at speeds greater than 25 mph and required the vehicle to be towed, according to NHTSA. The safety probe covers an estimated 21,348 vehicles.

Eric Mayne, a spokesman for Stellantis, said the automaker is “cooperating with the investigation in accordance with our standard practice.”

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