DETROIT (AP) - Chrysler Group LLC is recalling 11,351 cars, minivans and other models because a manufacturing problem can cause the steering wheel to collapse improperly in a collision.
Chrysler told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it doesn't know of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem. The recall affects 11 of the 20 models Chrysler has on sale for the 2011 model year.
NHTSA said on its website Thursday that a missing or incorrectly
installed rivet could cause the problem, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
Recalled vehicles include the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan and
convertible and Town and Country minivan; the Dodge Avenger midsize sedan, Caliber compact car, Caravan minivan, Journey crossover vehicle and Nitro SUV; and the Jeep Compass wagon and Patriot, Liberty and Wrangler SUVs.
The vehicles were built from mid-April to the middle of May.
Rivets hold the steering column adjustment mechanism in place.
If one is missing or misaligned, the steering column may not collapse as designed if the driver's body hits it during a collision, said Vince Muniga, a Chrysler spokesman.
NHTSA initially said on its website Thursday that the problem could cause a loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash. But later in the day, the agency said that was incorrect.
Dealers will check to make sure the rivet was installed correctly and make repairs free of charge. The company plans to begin notifying dealers and owners in July, according to the documents.
Chrysler began investigating after it discovered that a steering column rivet was missing in some of the vehicles. The company inspected 14,000 steering columns and found seven with missing or misaligned rivets.
The problem was traced to the improper identification of rejected components by new employees on one shift at a factory near
Toledo, Ohio, according to documents filed with NHTSA.
There are no known customer complaints about the problem, the
Vehicle owners who have questions can call Chrysler at (800)
853-1403 or NHTSA at (888) 327-4236.
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