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It’s Christmas time and depending on where you live, snow could be falling and carolers calling. However, depending on your outlook, frozen precipitation is either a beautiful natural phenomenon or a dreadful sign of frigid weather; holiday singers can be a festive reminder of bygone times or guilty of trespassing.
Jeep has just announced that it will recall 209,724 units of its Liberty model, built for model year 2004 and 2005. However, the recall is only for States that are considered “Snow Belt” areas.
Why do these Liberty models have a problem with snow?
Because the recall is about rust, and the States that use road salt are more likely to cause a rust issue due to excessive corrosion.
The components that are of concern to Jeep and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are the lower control arms, which can crack as a result of corrosion. Such a defect can effect the vehicles handling and could result in a crash.
NHTSA says that 21-States are included in this recall, and Jeep will start notifying and correcting this issue by April of this year. So far, 83 corrosion complaints have been reported, but thankfully no one has been involved in an accident or reported any injuries.
Jeep made a significant design change to the lower control arm in 2004. This part was manufactured by Global Automotive Systems, which is now part of DURA Automotive systems of Rochester Hills, MI.
If your vehicle is potentially affected, expect a letter of recall from Jeep very soon. All the repairs will be done free of charge for the owners of these vehicles. For more info, contact NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.
For some, it’s been a long time coming, especially as the current Liberty, despite a fairly recent refresh, is one of the oldest vehicles in the Jeep, or for that matter Chrysler portfolio.
Nonetheless, next week, CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to make an announcement on November 16 while touring the Toledo North assembly complex where the current model is built. It’s perhaps quite timely, for the plant is scheduled to build the last examples of the Liberty’s Dodge counterpart, the Nitro, next month.
The next generation Liberty will most likely be built off Fiat’s new CUSW architecture, which will underpin a number of next generation Chrysler group small and mid-size cars and SUVs. The current car is based on a traditional SUV platform suitable for the kind of hardcore off-roading that Jeep buyers expect, so a car-based platform would be a substantial break from the norm.
There’s also a possibility the name could revert to Cherokee (which current Liberty models are labeled in overseas markets). At present other details are scarce; nonetheless Chrysler is attempting to reassure local workers, along with state and local governments, that Toledo does indeed have a future, having declared that it plans to invest some $365 million in the facility, as well as creating 1,105 jobs to produce the next generation Liberty.
In the meantime, despite its age, the current model is still doing reasonably well in terms of sales, as orders are up some 34 percent through October this year.
[Source: Automotive News]