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NHTSA initiates recall of 94,000 Jeep Wranglers as complaints of loss of propulsion continue

By WYATTE GRANTHAM-PHILIPS – AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. auto safety agency is investigating a possible “power failure” in more than 94,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles after receiving complaints about vehicles that were not covered by an earlier recall involving an engine shutdown on the same SUV model.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it initiated a recall request on Friday “to assess the severity of the alleged defect” and the effectiveness of the corrective measures provided in the previously announced recall.

Back in November 2022, the NHTSA announced a recall of nearly 63,000 2021-2023 model year Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles equipped with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle engine. At the time, NHTSA documents warned that these vehicles could experience engine failure, which could result in a sudden loss of propulsion power while driving.

A calibration software update was made available to affected owners as a remedy, but since then, more complaints have poured in. In its recall query summary released this week, NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation noted that it has identified 68 owner reports of a loss of engine power for Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles from model years 2021 through 2024.

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According to NHTSA, these complaints affect both vehicles that have already been corrected for the 2022 recall and those that were not originally included in the recall – with the current reporting rate being higher for “out-of-scope” Wranglers than for those later included in the recall, the regulator noted.

The NHTSA estimates that approximately 94,275 Jeep Wrangler 4xes from model years 2021-2024 could be affected. Currently, all vehicles affected by the 2022 recall are part of the investigation, an agency spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

When asked by the Associated Press, a spokesman for Jeep’s owner Stellantis said the Michigan-based company is cooperating with the NHTSA.

The engine shutdown issue is not the only recall Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners have faced in recent years. In November 2023, Stellantis announced a recall of over 32,000 of these hybrid SUVs because they pose a potential fire risk.

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