Chrysler to recall over 489,000 vehicles

UPDATED: 3/9/07 4:50 P.M.

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Chrysler Group said on Friday it would recall over 489,000 vehicles, including recent models of the Jeep Liberty, Dodge Durango and its all-new Dodge Avenger sedan.

The recall was the second such action by Chrysler in two weeks. In late February, the No. 4 U.S. automaker recalled almost 51,000 vehicles to reprogram software for anti-lock brakes.

Chrysler, the struggling U.S. arm of DaimlerChrysler AG, said it was recalling 328,424 Durango SUVs because of the risk of overheating linked to an integrated circuit in the instrument cluster of the vehicles.

The recall covers 2004 to 2006 model year SUVs, Chrysler said.

Chrysler, which faces a possible sale by its German parent company, also said it was recalling 10,994 of its recently released 2008 model Dodge Avenger sedans because of a problem with the door latches on the new cars.

In a third recall action, the automaker said it would service up to 149,605 Jeep Liberty vehicles because of a problem with the blower motor in the air-conditioning system. Chrysler said that in some cases the motors could fail, particularly in hot weather.

That recall affects 2006 and 2007 model-year Jeep Liberty vehicles, Chrysler said.

Chrysler said it would notify affected owners of the recalls. Notices to Durango owners will go out in April, while owners of the Liberty will be notified in May, it said.

Chrysler said it would notify owners of the new Avenger once it had a sufficient quantity of replacement parts for the vehicles were available.

In addition to the direct expense involved in a vehicle recall, the actions can also be damaging to a brand's longer-term reputation for reliability.

In recent years, Chrysler has undertaken a stepped-up investment in vehicle quality that executives have said they expect to see reflected in improved future quality ratings.

Chrysler, which lost $1.48 billion last year as sales slumped, is cutting 13,000 jobs in an attempt to return to profitability by 2008.

A number of potential bidders, including private equity firms and rival General Motors, have expressed an interest in acquiring the automaker after Daimler said last month that it was keeping all options open for the unit.

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