Federal Safety Regulators Launch Investigation into Chevy Cruze Fires

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on April 18, 2012

According to an article in the The Los Angeles Times, federal safety regulators have begun an investigation into the cause of fires in General Motors’ 2011 Chevrolet Cruze passenger cars, as well as the cause of fires in the 2010 Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicle (SUV). At least two incidents of the Chevy Cruze catching fire while being driven have been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and General Motors (GM) is currently researching at least 19 Cruze warranty claims involving fires.

The probe into the Cruze fires was launched just two months after the NHTSA closed its investigation into fires which occurred in the Chevrolet Volt during safety tests. The problem in the Volt, GM’s plug-in hybrid vehicle, was addressed by adding structural reinforcement to its battery pack. Nonetheless, the fire issue negatively impacted Volt sales and caused embarrassment to GM. This subsequent issue with vehicle fires may continue to hurt Chevrolet’s, and GM’s, image. The Chevy Cruz fire issue may dissuade potential buyers from purchasing or even considering the purchase of a Chevy Cruz.

One of the reported Chevy Cruze fires occurred with a 2011 Cruze Eco. The driver had noticed the smell of smoke and stopped the car, after which a flame appeared out of the hood. The vehicle was engulfed in flames in just five minutes, but only after the first flames appeared did the dashboard warning light turn on. The other NHTSA-reported incident involved a Cruze driver waiting to cross an intersection when the vehicle caught fire. There were no warnings that an abnormality existed. A woman in the next lane alerted the Cruze driver that the car was on fire.

In addition to reports of Cruze fires, the NHTSA has received eight reports of 2010 Jeep Wrangler fires originating in the vehicle’s engine compartment; seven of these complaints alleged that the fire or signs of imminent fire began while driving.

Auto manufacturers are responsible for the safety of their vehicles and potential occupants. If you or a loved one has suffered injury as the result of a dangerous vehicle defect, you may be entitled to pursue legal action.

Contact the experienced New Jersey auto product liability lawyers at Blume Forte to learn whether you may have a meritorious claim. Call (973) 635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.

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