Jeep Wrangler fire-risk investigation ordered by China

Chinese authorities have warned Jeep Wrangler owners not to drive their vehicles under extreme conditions.
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BEIJING (Bloomberg) -- China ordered Chrysler Group to investigate its Jeep Wrangler, saying the SUV had a "relatively high risk" of catching fire and warned owners not to drive the vehicle under extreme conditions.

Owners of the Jeep Wrangler, which is imported, should check the chassis and engine compartment, and promptly remove any inflammable material, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its Web site today. They should contact the manufacturer or authorized after-sales outlet and inform the local inspection agency if they encounter any problems, according to the statement, which didn't specify how many vehicles were involved.

The agency had stopped imports of the Jeep Wrangler in April 2011 because inspections found fire risks with the gearbox, according to the statement, which was dated Dec. 31.

Imports restarted in 2012 after Chrysler replaced the parts and undertook a series of preventive measures, the agency said.

Pernilla Ding, communication director of Fiat-Chrysler in the Asia Pacific region, declined to comment on the quality watchdog's statement when contacted, referring the query to Chrysler's China sales unit. Jiang Qiong, a spokeswoman for the unit, didn't answer two calls placed to her mobile phone.

China's warning comes as Fiat prepares to begin production of Jeep vehicles in China. The Italian automaker is nearing a deal with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. to revive China production after stopping it in 2006, people familiar with the matter said last month. Local production is key for competing in China because imported cars are levied with a 25 percent tariff.

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