USA: Chrysler may have to recall over a million vehicles for child safety seat mount checks - report
Bloomberg News reports that DaimlerChrysler may be forced to recall over a million Dodge and Plymouth Neon sedans, the Dodge Durango sport utility and other models to repair child safety-seat assemblies after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation.
According to Bloomberg, the NHTSA began probing six models made by the company's Chrysler unit, including the popular Neon sedan from model years 1995 to 2003.
Bloomberg said that the NHTSA received 17 complaints that the plate holding the child safety seats in place broke when they were installed or removed though no injuries have been reported from use of the seats, designed for riders under 5 years of age or weighing less than 40 pounds (18 kilograms).
Chrysler has had at least 14 recalls this year, including one covering 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokees, Bloomberg News noted, adding that the car maker also recalled minivans three times in the 1990s for problems involving built-in child-safety seats, including a recall to replace bolts that can break on 1996 Plymouth Voyagers and Dodge Caravans.
Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA chief turned president of consumer group Public Citizen told Bloomberg News: "They'll have a lot of liability suits on their hands and a lot of kids are going to get hurt," if the problem isn't fixed fast.
Bloomberg News said that other models under investigation are the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus sedans from the 1995 to 2003 model years, the Durango from 1997 to 2003, the Ram Van from 1995 to 2003 and 2001 to 2003 PT Cruisers.
According to Bloomberg Claybrook reckoned the repair would cost Chrysler no more than $15 a vehicle in the event of a recall, including the cost of the part, owner notification and replacement part installation labour.
Chrysler spokeswoman Ann Smith wouldn't tell Bloomberg who made the plates for the company and added that the company is still trying to establish if additional vehicles are affected.
The plate "appears to be an issue when people take them (safety seats) in and out on a daily basis," Smith told Bloomberg News.