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US opens 3 safety probes against company making Jeep, Dodge vehicles

The investigations could lead to recalls, but so far U.S. regulators haven't sought any.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this file photo taken on Jan. 19, 2021, the Stellantis sign is seen outside the Chrysler Technology Center, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT — U.S. safety regulators have opened three investigations into safety problems with about 1.65 million vehicles made by Stellantis.

The largest probe covers 1.34 million Jeep Cherokee small SUVs from the 2014 through 2020 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 80 complaints that the electronic parking brakes can turn on while the SUVs are moving.

The agency says the complaints allege that water can get into the computer that controls the brakes.

Another probe covers 289,000 Dodge Journey and Jeep Compass and Patriot small SUVs from 2016 due to 127 complaints about engine stalling due to crankshaft or camshaft sensor problems. The agency says Fiat Chrysler did a recall in 2016 for a similar problem. It's looking to see if the problem is happening with vehicles not included in the recall.

The agency also says it has 40 complaints of a transmission problem causing Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans to lose power. The probe cover 21,000 vans from the 2019 through 2021 model years.

The investigations could lead to recalls, but so far the agency hasn't sought any.

In all three cases, no crashes or injuries have been reported.

Stellantis, which was formed with the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France's PSA Peugeot, says it is cooperating with the investigations.

Other car manufacturers have faced large recalls in recent months. Since May, Ford has had to recall nearly 150,000 SUVs because some have spontaneously caught fire. 

And Nissan was forced to recall 323,000 of its SUVs after it was discovered that some had front hoods that could fly open without warning. 

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