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Sticky throttles hit Dodge

Back pedal: Now Dodge's Caliber has been caught up in the accelerator pedal dramas in the US.

Three Australian Dodge Calibers affected by US sticking accelerator pedal probe

Dodge logo4 May 2010


CHRYSLER Australia has taken the unusual step of announcing that three locally delivered vehicles are affected by a US National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) investigation into a potential sticky throttle issue with certain examples of the Dodge Caliber.

The company has confirmed that some US owners of MY2007 Caliber models have reported sticking accelerator pedals – the same problem that led to millions of Toyota vehicles being recalled globally earlier this year – but says it is not aware of any incidents, injuries or property damage related to the reports.

The NHTSA said it was investigating as many as 161,000 Calibers for an accelerator pedal that “can stick or bind and not return to the idle position when it is released”, following five customer complaints to the US transport safety agency.

However, Chrysler says its own initial investigation found US customer complaints were limited to a population of 10,000 vehicles built during a five-week window in March and April of 2006.

Chrysler Australia says it is aware of three vehicles built during that period that were imported into Australia. It said the owners of the affected vehicles would be contacted today (May 4) to “see if there are any concerns and (to) be offered a free inspection at their local Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealer”.

It said any Caliber owner whose vehicle was manufactured between March and April 2006, or who cannot identify the build date of their vehicle, can receive assistance from their local Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealer or by contacting Chrysler Customer Care on 1300 133 079.

Chrysler said it will fully co-operate with the NHTSA investigation but stresses the problem appears to be “a supplier manufacturing concern, which is mechanical in nature and not a design or electronic issue”, with the Caliber, which is equipped with a brake override system.

Automotive News quoted US Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa as saying the problem appeared to be a mechanical, caused by components made by Indiana parts supplier CTS Corporation – the same company fingered by Toyota for the sticky throttle debacle that led to a January recall of 2.1 million vehicles.

At the time, CTS denied Toyota’s accusation, saying that millions of Toyota vehicles recalled for unintended acceleration issues did not employ CTS pedals.

The NHTSA continues to investigate the possible role played by electronic defects in the unintended acceleration saga that has seen nine million Toyotas recalled worldwide.

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