- NHTSA has launched an investigation into an estimated 146,000 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokees after three reports from consumers alleging the headliner of the vehicle caught fire.
- The complaints say the headliner caught fire near the area of the passenger-side sun visor.
- Chrysler said it is cooperating with federal safety regulators in the probe.
WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into an estimated 146,000 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokees after three reports from consumers alleging the headliner of the vehicle caught fire.
The complaints say the headliner caught fire near the area of the passenger-side sun visor.
"The customers reported a burning odor and visible smoke coming from the headliner while the vehicle was being driven," said NHTSA in its summary of the probe. "This was followed by flames from the headliner itself.
"Customers lowered the windows in an effort to clear the smoke but this increased the fire's intensity. All three vehicles had to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher or by the fire department as they continued to burn after the vehicle was turned off."
NHTSA says the fire also caused the sunroof to shatter in one incident. In another, the fire spread to the passenger seat when the burning sun visor fell onto the seat.
"In each case, the incident resulted in the vehicle being inoperable, requiring it to be towed to the dealership," NHTSA said.
Chrysler said it is cooperating with federal safety regulators in the probe.
"Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group," wrote Eric Mayne, a Chrysler spokesman, in response to an e-mailed query about the investigation. "Accordingly, our engineers are investigating this concern while also fully supporting the preliminary evaluation opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is among the safest vehicles on the road today."
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee has not been recalled at this point. Federal safety regulators have opened what is called a "preliminary evaluation" to check the scope, frequency and consequence of the alleged defect.
Edmunds says: At this point, there's not much that owners of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee can do except to wait for federal safety regulators to finish their investigation.