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Chinese Wrangler recall more smoke than fire?

by Bill Cawthon on

Last Friday, The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the Chinese government’s product quality agency, said the country would suspend imports of Jeep Wranglers because of what it called “a serious potential safety hazard.”

According to a statement on the agency’s website, Chinese consumers reported several cases of imported Jeep Wranglers catching fire. Investigations found that the fires were the resulted from issues with the automatic transmission and systems tied to the transmission. The administration did not mention whether these incidents resulted in casualties.

The AQSIQ urged Chrysler to determine the cause of the problems and solve them. “Before that, the manufacturer and importers should take precautionary measures for the vehicles involved to ensure consumers’ safety,” it said.

In a response issued last Friday (and reported on, the automaker said, “Chrysler Group is cooperating fully with China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to identify and fix 2008-2010 model-year Jeep® Wrangler SUVs equipped with automatic transmissions and sold in China.

“In February 2010, Chrysler issued a global recall to address a potential for transmission fluid to overheat and expel onto hot surfaces that could pose a fire hazard. The conditions were linked to extreme and/or abusive driving conditions under rigorous off-road conditions.

“Outside of China, Chrysler Group is not aware of any vehicle fires related to this condition once the recall was completed.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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