Texas residents who purchased hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans manufactured in 2017 and 2018 should not recharge the batteries in their vehicles even if they are completely drained. The Detroit-based carmaker gave this advice to owners as it investigates a spate of unexplained car fires. At least a dozen Pacifica minivans have caught fire recently while parked, and eight of them were plugged into electrical outlets when the fires broke out.
No fix yet available
Chrysler also advises Pacifica owners to park their vehicles far away from buildings and other cars to prevent fires from spreading. The company does not yet know why Pacifica minivans are catching fire, but it does promise owners that a fix will be offered free of charge once the problem has been identified. When that happens, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will likely issue a campaign number and owners will be notified about a recall by first-class mail. Auto manufacturers order recalls in these situations to prevent accidents and injuries and to attempt to avoid product liability lawsuits.
Hyundai and Kia fires
The Chrysler statement was released less than a week after fire risks prompted Kia and Hyundai to urge almost half a million SUV owners to park their vehicles outside and away from other structures. The Korean manufacturers released a statement after 11 Kia Sportage and Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson models caught fire. They say the problem is being caused by an antilock braking system fault that can cause fires to start even when vehicles are parked.
Manufacturers usually respond to problems like these promptly because they know that failing to act in a timely manner could damage their corporate reputations and lead to a flood of litigation. Companies are expected to do everything reasonably possible to keep consumers safe, and they can pay a heavy price when they do not.