The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2010 Jeep Wrangler are being investigated for fires after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received two complaints about the compact sedan and eight reports regarding the SUV.
Both Cruze models were being driven when the fires began. After noticing smoke coming from the engine bay, the driver of a Cruze Eco pulled over about the same time flames appeared. The complaint says that within five minutes the car was “totally engulfed” in flames. The driver said a warning light on the dashboard didn’t illuminate until after the incident begun. Both Cruze models were a total loss, Automotive News reports.
According to the complaints, seven of the eight 2010 Jeep Wranglers were running when the fires began. In August 2009, the NHTSA began investigating the SUV after three Wranglers reportedly caught on fire. Chrysler recalled the Wrangler in February 2010 citing overheated transmission fluid in the four-speed automatic that could leak onto hot surfaces and possibly ignite. Extreme off-road driving increased the risk.
One driver complaint noted the appearance of “an unknown liquid burning down to the ground from the engine area," but despite attempts to extinguish the fire with water, the Jeep was a total loss within minutes.
Both automakers are cooperating with the NHTSA.
"We are conducting our own investigation and will share any findings with the government," GM spokesman Alan Adler told Automotive News.
"Vehicle fires are very complex and can occur for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with the vehicle itself," Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa told Automotive News. "Poor maintenance, improper vehicle use, or installation of after-market equipment often are causes of vehicle fires."
No injuries or deaths stemming from the fires have been reported.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)