US: FCA SUV stalling settlement gets the green light

US: FCA SUV stalling settlement gets the green light image

After over 500,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles were recalled for stalling problems, a federal judge in Washington granted preliminary approval for a settlement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in a class-action lawsuit.

The settlement covers 526,000 U.S. owners of Durango and Grand Cherokee models from 2011 through 2013. Documents from the suit disclosed that FCA agreed to recall more than 460,000 SUVs globally in February this year in order to install a new and more robust fuel pump relay outside the integrated power module. The reason for that change was that they found it was possible for the relay within the module to fail and cause stalling or trouble for the car when started. According to the settlement, Fiat Chrysler will pay back its customers for the cost of the rental cars they used while the cars they owned were under repair, $1,100-$1,200 for the power module replacement that some owners had already paid for and $100-$200 for replacing the defective fuel pump relay.

The part with the rental cars is the most important in this settlement as owners who filed for their car issues back in November 2013 said that they had to wait for months before getting the replacement parts their cars needed and at the time FCA would not provide them with the rental cars they would turn to in the meantime.

Fiat Chrysler also agreed to extend its standard warranty from 3 years per 36,000 miles to 7 years for 70,000 miles in terms of relay repairs. The company will also pay $3.7 million in attorney fees and costs and has said that a settlement was desired in order to completely solve all the pending and potential claims from their consumers. This was the second recall for the same issues, as FCA recalled another 230,000 Durango and Grand Cherokee models from 2011 with 3.6-liter and 5.7-liter engines. A spokesman for FCA U.S. said that settlements do not represent admission of defect or liability, but that they often stand for a choice to avoid additional costs brought on by ongoing litigation.

By Gabriela Florea

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