Vehicles from model years 2011 through 2014 will be inspected and the boosters replaced where necessary, the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based carmaker said in a statement. The Fiat SpA (F) division started an investigation following customer complaints about excessive brake-pedal firmness. Fiat stock fell for the first time in seven trading days.
New models, increasingly complex technology and heightened regulatory scrutiny have led to more auto recalls, consulting company Stout Risius Ross Inc. said in a study last month. Chrysler’s announcement follows U.S. congressional testimony yesterday by General Motors Co. (GM) Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra about why her company took more than a decade to fix faulty ignition switches implicated in 13 crash-related deaths.
“Clearly the market is very sensitive to recalls after the GM issue,”Vincenzo Longo, a strategist at IG Group in Milan, said by phone. Chrysler’s announcement “gives investors a reason to sell Fiat stock after it rose yesterday to the highest since 2007.”
Fiat fell as much as 2.3 percent and was down 1.9 percent at 8.60 euros as of 2:03 p.m. in Milan, reversing a gain from earlier today. The stock has climbed 45 percent this year, valuing the automaker at 10.8 billion euros ($14.9 billion).
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s biggest luxury-vehicle maker, said today it’s recalling 232,098 cars and SUVs in China to repair engine defects. The Munich-based manufacturer’s voluntary action is to fix a defective bolt design that may damage the motor or cause it to fail to start. BMW will investigate whether the problem exists in other markets and communicate its finding later, Bernhard Santer, a company spokesman, said by phone.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest auto manufacturer, undertook a repair program for more than 380,000 vehicles in China last year after state television featured complaints about vibrations, loss of power and sudden acceleration in Golfs and other cars.
VW’s Porsche division took the rare step last month of advising customers worldwide to stop driving 911 GT3 sports cars until the luxury-auto unit can fix loose fasteners that were to blame for engine fires.
Recalls this year by Chrysler, which Turin, Italy-based Fiat acquired full control of in January, have involved headlamp components and brake-hose flaws. The SUV brake-booster repair program includes 644,354 in the U.S., 42,380 in Canada, 21,376 in Mexico and 159,685 elsewhere, Chrysler said today. The company said it’s aware of one related accident and no injuries.
“Certain vehicles have brake boosters with small crimp joints, and these joints may exhibit corrosion when exposed to water,” Chrysler said. “Should water enter the boosters through corroded joints, a previously unseen occurrence, brake function may be compromised if the water freezes.”
GM, the biggest U.S. carmaker, is facing a growing number of lawsuits over recalls of at least 2.59 million small cars for the ignition-switch fault. A lawyer for vehicle owners urged in a March 31 filing that the cases be consolidated. This year, GM has recalled almost 7 million vehicles worldwide.
Chrysler and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration clashed last year over the regulator’s push for the manufacturer to modify as many as 2.7 million SUVs following 51 deaths in post-crash fires involving the models.
The carmaker reached a settlement with the NHTSA in June for a “voluntary campaign” to repair Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty models with fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axles, though Chrysler said the vehicles in question were safe. That recall cost Fiat $151 million in the second quarter of 2013.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org