Fair Trading probe into vehicle recall

FAIR Trading officials are investigating whether Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia took several weeks after the recall of 2013-15 Fiat Freemont 2.4l petrol models in the United States before initiating similar action here.

FCA Australia said it took all recall issues "incredibly seriously".

"As per both current regulations and standard industry practice, we have notified the relevant government authority who has published the details of this recall. FCA Australia will now notify vehicle owners directly," a spokesperson said.

"FCA Australia will notify vehicle owners who can take their vehicle to a Fiat dealership whereby the dealer will remedy the defect."

There was no explanation why the recall was not simultaneous with that in the US which occurred last week.

A Fair Trading spokesperson said FCA submitted the recall on Monday afternoon which was published on the Recalls Australia website Tuesday morning.

"We have asked Fiat Chrysler Australia if this is same vehicle badged as a Dodge Journey which was recalled from the US market on July 7, 2015, and asked them to explain if there was any delay in commencing recall actions in Australia,'' a spokesman said.

"A Fiat Freemont owner battling the company over serious transmission issues in the vehicle he uses to take his ex-servicewoman wife to medical appointments was scanning information about the recall of 144,000 vehicles in the United States on the weekend."

There the motor corporation has been fined $105 million for poor recall practices, sparking an unprecedented buy-back option covering 500,000 RAM pick-up vehicles with steering defects.

Fiat Chrysler in the United States has also been required to recall 1.4 million vehicles to install software patches to stop hackers taking control.

The 144,416 Fiat Freemonts have been recalled after three cases in Chile where plastic engine beauty covers dislodged, coming in contact with the catalytic converter.

If the engine cover remains in contact with the catalytic converter, under hood smoke and/or a fire may occur.

Fiat Chrysler has already had an unwanted spotlight shone on it by Sunshine Coast lemon law campaigner Ashton Wood whose "Destroy My Jeep" demonstration against the company went viral on social media.

Queensland Attorney General Yvette D'Ath has launched an inquiry into defects in new vehicles with a view to introducing laws to compel motor vehicle manufacturers to replace vehicles that exhibit a series of or a significant fault at purchase.

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