NEW YORK (AFP) – Chrysler recalled almost 350,000 older-model cars Thursday over ignition-switch problem that could cause a loss of engine power or reduced braking power.
The automaker, a unit of Italy-based Fiat Chrysler, said it would correct switch defect “that may cause ignition keys to become stuck or inadvertently move.”
The company said it knew of one “minor” accident that was possibly related to the problem, but that it was “unaware of any related injuries.”
The ignition-switch problem is similar to that which led General Motors to recall 2.6 million cars this year, 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 model-year 2008 cars, made before May 12, 2008. Most of them, 292,224, were in the United States.
Chrysler said the recall covers Dodge Charger sedans, Dodge Magnum station wagons, Chrysler 300 sedans, and Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee sport-utility vehicles.
In July, Chrysler recalled about 790,000 Jeep SUVs in the model years 2006-2007 to fix an ignition problem that allowed the key to move unintentionally from the “on” position.
In its latest recall, Chrysler said that the ignition keys may 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 the “on” position to “accessory” or “off”, reducing braking power and cutting engine power, power steering, and one or more of the cars’ safety features, including front air bags.