Chrysler, a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unit, has issued a recall order for almost 350,000 cars and SUVs all over the world for faulty ignition switches.
The ignition switches of the 349,442 vehicles affected by the recall order can cause the vehicles to suddenly lose power while driving, which is similar to the ignition switch defects that have been identified this year in over 16 million General Motors vehicles and 1 million Chrysler vehicles.
The faulty ignition switches in the latest batch of recalled Chrysler vehicles are prone to rotating to the "off" or "accessory" position if bumped by the driver's knee or if the vehicle drives through a road bump. If the switch is rotated, the engine shuts down, leading to a loss in power steering and the turning off of safety features such as the air bags.
This latest recall order involves vehicles with model year 2008, including the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee, which had earlier models of it receiving a similar recall order earlier this year.
Also included in the recall order are 2008 models of the Dodge Charger sedan, the Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum station wagon.
A Chrysler spokesman refused to reveal the supplier of the faulty ignition switches.
However, the company revealed that it has been informed on one accident that has been related to the issue. No injuries or deaths were caused by the accident.
This is the latest installment of the ongoing wave of recall orders related to faulty ignition switches. However, according to Kelley Blue Book executive market analyst Jack Nerad, this latest recall order is a small one compared to the others.
"But it does indicate the importance of ignition systems and overall vehicle safety, an aspect that was not well understood as the General Motors ignition issues developed and were reported," Nerad said. "Cars have stalled from the beginning, but in today's environment a stall caused by faulty ignition system parts can be, and has been, a serious safety issue."
In the meantime, while the recall order is ongoing, Chrysler issued a temporary fix to the problem, which is the same one that General Motors issued to owners of its vehicles that have the same ignition switch issue. Drivers are requested to remove their car keys from key rings that are heavy, which will minimize, but not completely prevent, the risk of the keys rotating in the switches.