Early this morning -- the day after Chrysler returned to the world's stock exchanges -- the automaker issued a recall for 2014 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. According to a press release, an electrical glitch may wreak havoc on those vehicles' safety systems, potentially disabling airbags and safety belts.
The problem is linked to the occupant restraint control module, which may suffer from internal short circuiting. If so, the safety systems could be taken offline, dramatically increasing the risk of injury to passengers in the event of an accident.
The good news is that the electrical problem should trigger a warning light on the vehicles' dashboard. So if you own a 2014 model, you should, in theory, receive a notification if there's a short.
Two more bits of good news: (1) Chrysler knows of no accidents or injuries linked to the problem, and (2) the electrical flaw only affects a portion of 2014 Jeep and Dodge models. Unfortunately, Chrysler hasn't indicated which portion that might be by providing dates of manufacture or part numbers. The company says that recall notices will only be mailed to 2014-model owners who need to bring in their vehicles for service.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee/Dodge Durango recall affects 184,215 vehicles worldwide. Of those, 126,772 are registered in the U.S., 8,106 are in Canada, 3,722 are in Mexico, and another 45,615 are registered elsewhere.
In the meantime, Chrysler encourages all owners of 2014 models to wear their seatbelts as usual. Should you have additional questions, you're encouraged to contact Chrysler’s Customer Information Center at 800-853-1403.