FCA US is replacing the the ignition switches in 702,578 examples of the 2008-2010 Chrysler Town & Country, 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan and 2009-2010 Dodge Journey. This campaign was first announced last year, but the automaker has revised the repair procedure.
Automotive News reports that the next-generation Dodge Grand Caravan will drop the American Value Package, and will start around $26,000. The platform, technology and content Dodge is building into the new minivan makes it too difficult to get to an MSRP below $25,000.
First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers' existence. It's a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle's front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is issuing two, separate recalls covering a total of 33,443 examples in the US of the 2014 Ram ProMaster, 2014 Jeep Wrangler, 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and 2014 Chrysler Town & Country because of potential problems with the tire pressure monitoring system in the vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least one man has reported that his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan stalled unexpectedly on the highway shortly after being refueled. The unidentified man who contacted NHTSA regarding the issue cited as many as eight similar instances reported by other drivers.
General Motors isn't the only automaker with ignition switch problems. Chrysler is fighting it too and is now announcing a recall of 695,957 examples worldwide of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008-2010 model years, plus the 2009-2010 Dodge Journey.
Chrysler is recalling 780,000 of its Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2010 to 2014 model years due to the possibility of circuits overheating, which can lead to a fire. Of the 780,000 total vans being recalled, Chrysler estimates that 644,850 are in the US, 106,980 are in Canada, 8,009 are in Mexico, and 20,638 are in other markets. All of the affected vehicles were built between August 25, 2010 and October 31, 2013.
It's fascinating the way that one change to a complex system can have all sorts of unintended consequences. For instance, there are hundreds of new Chrysler Town and County and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans built in Windsor, Ontario, sitting in lots on the Detroit waterfront because of the energy boom in the Bakken oil field in the northern US and parts of Canada.
It's frightening to think of how quickly the mice would have overtaken us if we hadn't stayed one step ahead of them with better mousetraps. We'll never have to worry about that in our relentlessly re-engineered world, though. Case in point: Chrysler has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an improved design of the already wondrous Stow 'n' Go seating found in the automaker's Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.