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Chrysler cites reports of dozens of fires in recalling nearly 500,000 vehicles

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ After dozens of reports of fires in Dodge Durango and Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles, DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group recalled nearly 500,000 vehicles Friday.

Chrysler said it had received 66 reports of fires in Dodge Durango SUVs from the 2004-2006 model years because of electrical overloads in the driver's side instrument panel below the dashboard. The automaker said it was recalling 328,424 Durangos.

The automaker was also recalling 149,605 Jeep Liberty SUVs from the 2006-2007 model years to fix the heating-ventilation-air conditioning blower motor. Chrysler had received a dozen reports of fires from Liberty owners.

In a third move, Chrysler said it was recalling nearly 11,000 Dodge Avenger passenger cars from the 2008 model year to fix problems with the front driver and passenger side door latches.

There were no crashes or injuries reported in connection to the recalls, Chrysler said.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened defect investigations involving the Durango and Liberty.

In the Durango, Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said an integrated circuit in the instrument panel could get overloaded and lead to overheating and affect the interior lighting.

Owners will be notified about the Durango recall in April. The vehicles will be inspected and those SUVs with instrument panels that fail the review will get replacement parts.

The company said if drivers notice problems with the interior lights, they should take their vehicles to a dealer for inspection. In some cases, the interior lights will not properly dim after the doors are closed.

In the Liberty recall, Gates said the blower motors could fail if the air conditioning is being used on high during hot weather.

Drivers who smell an odor such as overheated plastic should keep their blower motor below the highest setting until they bring their vehicle in for service, Chrysler said. Liberty owners are expected to receive notices about the recall in May.

In the Avenger recall, Chrysler said owners will be notified when enough parts are available. The front door latches will be changed to make sure they work properly.

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Chrysler cites reports of dozens of fires in recalling nearly 500,000 vehicles
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