FCA Steering, Airbag Problems Prompt 1.3 Million-Vehicle Recalls

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is preparing to recall 1.3 million cars and SUVs worldwide under two campaigns to repair electrical problems that could cause the engine to stall or airbags to deploy unexpectedly. About 60% of the affected vehicles are in the U.S.

The larger callback involves 770,000 of the company’s 2011-2015 Dodge Journey crossover vehicles and Fiat Freemont variants. A wiring harness within the steering column can rub against the steering wheel and cause a short circuit that triggers the frontal driver airbag.

In a second campaign, the company will fix 565,000 of its 2012-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and 2011-2014 model Dodge Durango SUVs, plus Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger and Charger cars.

Affected models have electro-hydraulic steering systems either 3.6- or 5.7-liter engines and alternators rated at 160, 180 or 220 amps. The alternators can overheat and suddenly fail, causing the engine to stall. An underhood fire also is possible.

Reuters notes that FCA recalled 86,000 Ram pickup trucks and Dodge Charger Pursuit police cars last August to fix the same alternator problem.