One of the historic “Big Three” American automakers, Chrysler has been in operation since its founding in 1925. Formed from the ashes of the Maxwell Motor Company, Chrysler operated independently until 1998 when it merged with Daimler-Benz. The ensuing holding company, DaimlerChrysler, manufactured Chrysler automobiles until 2007 when Chrysler was divested from the group. Chrysler then operated independently again until merging with Fiat in 2014.
Founded by Walter Chrysler in 1925, the Chrysler Company quickly took steps to absorb competitors and carve off a large part of the American automobile market. These moves included the purchase of Dodge Brothers and Fargo Trucks within a few years of opening. The company continued to innovate and survive despite fierce competition from Ford and GM, even surviving a bankruptcy scare in the late 1970's thanks to loan guarantees from the United States government.
Despite offering a variety of models and body types over the years, Chrysler has long been known for its line of luxury sedans and minivans. While Chrysler has had some success in recent years with models like the Town and Country and the PT Cruiser, the two most popular models the company currently offers include the Chrysler 300 and the Chrysler Pacifica.
The Chrysler 300 is a full-sized luxury sedan that has become the most popular model Chrysler offers. The rear-wheel-drive car was first marketed in the 1950s, although the current version is significantly different than the original model.
The Chrysler Pacifica is Chrysler's current minivan offering. While the name had previously been used for Chrysler's SUV crossover, the current Pacifica is a minivan intended to take the place of the now-retired Town and Country. While the Pacifica was initially designed to be marketed as the newest iteration of the Town and Country, Chrysler ultimately decided a fresh start would benefit the brand.
Chrysler Safety Ratings
The safety ratings for the Chrysler 300 and the Chrysler Pacifica have routinely been strong in recent years. In each of the last three years, the Chrysler 300 has earned “Good” crashworthiness ratings on every part of the vehicle tested other than the driver-side door, which was rated “Marginal.” The only area rated below marginal in each of the previous three years is the “Poor” grade assigned to the 300's headlights.
The safety ratings are even better for the Pacifica. In the three years the Pacifica has been available, the minivan has yet to receive a safety rating for any part of the vehicle that is below marginal. In fact, the Pacifica received a grade of “Good” in nearly every category over the last three years. The only rating of “Marginal” recorded was for the ease of use in the child seat anchors.
Recalls, Defects, and Other Issues
High marks for safety ratings are fantastic, but that doesn't mean that problems never arise in Chrysler vehicles. There is a wide array of potential mechanical issues that can arise with a Chrysler vehicle, and there have been numerous safety warnings and recalls related to Chrysler vehicles. Below, you will find some of the most notable recalls, defects, and safety issues Chrysler has seen in recent years.
Loss of Steering Control
In March of 2019, Chrysler announced a recall of nearly 50,000 Pacifica minivans due to the potential loss of steering control while driving. Drivers reported losing the ability to steer the Pacifica in certain cases despite not receiving any sort of dashboard warning or light. According to Chrysler, a faulty control arm ball joint can lead to the separation of the joint from the steering knuckle. The end result is a steering wheel that is entirely unresponsive despite the lack of warnings coming from the vehicle. According to Chrysler, there are no reports of this malfunction leading to any crashes or injuries. This issue appears to primarily affect 2018 model year vehicles, as newer models are constructed with different parts.
A long-running emissions scandal that has enveloped Chrysler's parent company has also affected the Chrysler brand. While the emission scandal is primarily linked to Ram and Jeep vehicles, Chrysler is not immune to the allegations regarding falsified emissions reports. According to the federal government, a number of Fiat vehicles used software to generate falsified emissions data intended to beat state regulations without sacrificing gas mileage. In January of 2019, Chrysler's parent company agreed to a recall of nearly 1 million vehicles as well as to a fine of $300 million.
The emissions scandal has not had the wide-ranging effects on Chrysler vehicles that it has one Jeep and Ram models. The falsified emission software was not used on popular models like the Pacifica or the 300. In fact, the only Chrysler model to be affected by the fraudulent data is the Chrysler 200 from model years 2011 through 2014.
A number of Chrysler 300s were recalled in recent years after an airbag defect was determined it could lead to lethal explosions under the wrong conditions. The airbags, manufactured by Takata, were installed in thousands of Chrysler 300s from the years 2010 through 2015. According to the federal government, a faulty part in the airbag can cause the airbags to deploy at an unsafe velocity. This force has been known to launch shrapnel towards passengers inside the vehicle. To date, at least 23 people have been killed by this defect.
Chrysler Problems? Get the Legal Help You Need.
Glossy marketing campaigns and stellar safety ratings don't mean much to you if your new vehicle simply doesn't work. There are a number of serious mechanical defects tied to Chrysler vehicles in recent years, and you shouldn't have to deal with these defects on your own. Major safety issues like exploding airbags and the loss of power steering should be dealt with immediately, and the manufacturer should be responsible for those repairs if the vehicle designs were defective. The fact is, if you live in the State of California you have rights under the California Lemon Law. To learn about how an experienced attorney can help you protect those rights, contact The Lemon Lawyer today.