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Multiple Safety Issues Prompt Ford, Chrysler Recalls


The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan is among a massive recall over an airbag software glitch and sticking door latches. It’s been a rough couple of months for automobile manufacturers. As a federal investigation and a slew of lawsuits against General Motors over a 2.6 million-vehicle recall involving a faulty ignition switch blamed for 13 deaths continue, two more major auto manufacturers have issued recalls in recent weeks. Ford Motor Co. is recalling upwards of 700,000 2013 and 2014 Escape SUVs and C-Max gas-electric hybrids from areas all across North America over a software glitch and sticking door handles; and Chrysler is recalling some 780,000 2010-2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans over a faulty window switch.


In the Ford Escapes and C-Max vehicles, a software issue can stop the side curtain air bags from inflating in certain types of rollover crashes. And, a problem with the exterior door handles can cause them to get stuck in the open position, keeping them from latching properly, leaving them apt to open while the vehicle is in motion. Fortunately, neither issue is reported to have caused an accident or injury. But both pose risks of serious injury for drivers and passengers of the recalled vehicles, automobile accident and product liability attorneys say. Chrysler Group’s recall notice warns that the switches for affected vehicles’ third-row power windows can overheat if the window switch, located on the driver’s door, is exposed to moisture, posing a fire risk.


The Michigan-based automaker has received nearly 40 known incidents of overheating, though none have caused injuries or accidents. Both issues with the recalled Ford vehicles can be repaired free of charge with a visit to your nearest Ford dealership. Chrysler officials plan to contact all registered owners of its recalled vehicles with information about repair or replacement. However, dealership technicians can disconnect the switches that control the third-row power windows, avoiding danger until a full repair can be done.


There is good news, however. Industry experts predict that the public relations and potential legal debacle over GM’s years-long wait to issue a recall despite knowing about the problem for upward of a decade will prompt automaker to take recall-worthy issues more seriously. “I think you’re going to see a heightened level of sensitivity across all automakers on this issue”, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne remarked at a recent company conference.


If you are injured in an accident that you believe may be caused by one of these recall issues, get medical attention immediately and do not take your vehicle in for repair. Instead, contact an experienced product liability attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.