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Jeep defends high number of product recalls

Call me back: Jeep’s Grand Cherokee large SUV has been subject to three recalls this year already, raising concerns around the vehicle’s reliability.

New-gen Jeep Cherokee recalled before hitting showrooms due to brake fault

Jeep logo29 Aug 2018

JEEP Australia has defended the high number of recent product recalls as the brand’s latest call back involves examples of the new facelifted Cherokee mid-size SUV that is yet to go on sale.
 
So far this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued 13 recalls involving Jeep models such as the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and Compass, with issues ranging from inappropriately labelled recovery straps to Power Control Module faults that can lead to unexpected acceleration.
 
The latest call back involves the new-look Cherokee, which is planned to hit local showrooms on October 1, and its potentially faulty rear brake callipers that could result in gas pockets forming in the brake system.
 
As a result, brake performance could be adversely affected leading to an increased risk of a crash.
 
However, Jeep says all 178 vehicles caught in the recall are pre-delivery units registered ahead of the on-sale date to show dealers and media, and the fix involves a bleed of the brake system.
 
Jeep says no customer vehicles will be affected by the call back.
 
Speaking to journalists this week at the media launch of the new Cherokee, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia president and chief executive Steve Zanlunghi conceded that the number of call backs have been problematic, but customer safety was critical.
 
“Obviously recalls are not ideal, but at the same time customer safety is our focus, so if there is a doubt, we are going to recall the vehicle,” he said.
 
“Some people look at it as ‘OK, you know what, Jeep’s being cautious and making sure they are recalling vehicles and putting customer safety first’ and there’s others that I’m sure it’s turned them off.”
 
Mr Zanlunghi said Jeep faces an uphill battle in turning around public perception of the brand’s reliability, but things are steadily improving on the back of a fresh product onslaught this year that includes the new-generation Compass, flagship Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and now the facelifted Cherokee.
 
“We still see some perception issues that are out there, but … the year’s not done yet, we knew that it was part of our entire product renewal that was going to get us to year-on-year increases.
 
“Consideration research that we have is growing pretty significantly, it’s almost doubled in the past year from what we look at year on year … right now we are looking at just two per cent consideration whereas we were at one per cent, and if you take two per cent of the entire Australian market, that’s pretty good from where we were.”
 
Meanwhile, FCA Australia head of Jeep brand Guillaume Drelon highlighted that some recalls of affected models were for minor updates, rather than larger faults.
 
“There is another way to look at the recall thing … it’s a key focus making sure in any circumstances our vehicle would be safe,” he said.
 
“The point of some of the recalls are just updates, and it’s called recall but it’s an update exactly like you would do on your phone.
 
“There are obviously things that are linked to pure product and safety elements … that’s not only Jeep, all the market, all the OEMs are working the same way – it is something serious and we need to take care of it.
 
“But some of those recalls can be just updates.”
 
However, Mr Zanlunghi said Jeep would never shy away from a safety recall.
 
“There’s people out there that just keep count of the overall number, but if you look at the overall number of units recalled it’s a little bit different,” he said.
 
“Our customer safety is going to be of the utmost importance, and whenever we see anything, we’re going to recall it if it puts customers at risk.”

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