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Chrysler Recalls Older Jeeps Over Ignition Switch Issues

Chrysler Group LLC said it’s recalling as many as 792,300 Jeep models as part of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigations into ignition switches.

Chrysler said today it will recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2005-2007 model years and 2006-2007 Jeep Commanders because the driver’s knee could bump the key out of the “on” position, possibly causing the engine to stall and the air bags to be disabled. The company said it knows of one accident and no injuries, and is doing the recall out of “an abundance of caution.”

The complaints involve 0.015 percent of the subject vehicle population, Chrysler said. Chrysler no longer makes the Commander and the Grand Cherokee has since been redesigned. Of the potentially affected vehicles, 649,900 are in the U.S., and owners will be notified by mid-September when they can schedule a repair at the automaker’s expense.

In the meantime, drivers of those vehicles should make sure there is enough room between their keys and knees and should remove all extraneous items from their key rings.

Vehicle ignitions are under increased scrutiny following General Motors Co.’s recall earlier this year of 2.59 million small cars with faults in that function that were linked to a least 13 deaths. GM, which has stepped up the pace of recalls since starting that action in February, has called back a record 29 million vehicles in North America in 2014, with about 17 million of them flagged for ignition-related problems.

Chrysler, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, is a unit of Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra told members of a U.S. House panel investigating the Detroit-based automaker’s slow recall of the small cars that she’s “seen incredible things on key chains” and suggested that GM isn’t alone.

“I think this is actually an industry issue that we’d have to look at,” she said on June 18. “I notice key chains everywhere I go now and I just think it’s something that needs to be addressed more broadly across the industry.”

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