Chrysler Group will recall about 900,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs), its largest recall this year, weeks before a shareholder meeting called by its parent Fiat SpA (IW 1000/30) to seek approval for their merger.
Chrysler said some 2011-2014 models of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango would be recalled to fix the wiring for vanity mirror lights in sun visors to prevent short circuits and fire.
Automakers including General Motors (IW 500/5) (GM) and Ford (IW 500/6) (F) have been struggling with a host of issues in their vehicles, recalling more than 25 million vehicles in the United States this year until June 23.
The latest recall is Chrysler's second big recall in two weeks, with the company announcing on June 30 an expanded recall of 695,957 more vehicles over an ignition switch problem in North America.
Automakers are facing increased scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after GM acknowledged last month that its faulty ignition switches might have led to at least 16 deaths.
"It's more an issue of being sensitive to the litigation environment and being more sensitive to legislation environment, more so than it is an overall quality issue," Morningstar Inc analyst Richard Hilgert told Reuters.
The NHTSA questioned last week Chrysler's pace of fixing rear fuel tanks in older model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty SUVs and asked the company to produce documents by July 16 to explain the pace of its recall efforts.
The regulator said Chrysler's current pace would take nearly five years to fix all the affected vehicles involved in the recall, announced in June last year.
Fiat has called a shareholder meeting on Aug. 1 to approve its merger with Chrysler. The merged entity, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange before the end of this year.
Chrysler's recall on Friday related to short circuits in cars where the vanity mirror or the roof interior had been serviced, but the recall included cars that had not been serviced.
The automaker said it was aware of three injuries, each of which involved a vehicle that had the vanity mirror or the roof interior serviced.
Chrysler said its dealers would install a spacer to keep the wires properly separated and prevent a short circuit.
About 651,000 of the 895,000 vehicles being recalled are in the United States.
By Rohit T. K., Reuters
(Additional reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)
Copyright Reuters, 2014