US probes Jeep Cherokee fire, Nissan Rogue air bag trouble

Author: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating engine compartment smoke or fire complaints in two Jeep Cherokees, and air bags that didn’t inflate properly in two Nissan Rogues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website Friday that the Cherokee probe covers 50,000 of the SUVs from the 2015 model year.

One owner in California told the agency he smelled oil from under the hood while driving on Jan. 4. Shortly after the Cherokee was parked at home, white smoke came from under the hood. “Within seconds the entire car was engulfed in fire, flames 20 feet high. Burning oil or fuel ran down the street over 50 yards,” the owner said in the complaint. The other owner complained of smoke from under the hood while driving 60 mph, also on Jan. 4. Both Cherokees had less than 100 miles on them.

No injuries were reported.

A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeeps, said the company is working with the agency.

NHTSA opened the Rogue probe after two complaints that the air bags on 2013 models deployed up to a minute after crashes and either inflated slowly or didn’t fully inflate. The investigation covers about 195,000 vehicles. No injuries were reported from the air bag problem.

A Nissan spokesman says the air bags were not made by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata Corp., which has had problems with air bags inflating with too much force and spewing shrapnel into drivers. The company is working with NHTSA on the investigation, the spokesman says.

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