James Emejo in Abuja
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Westar Associates Limited, a major dealer of Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler vehicles in the country to provide information on its vehicles’ defects associated with clutch pedal positions and the driver’s frontal bag.
The order is in connection with the recent directive by authorities in the European Union (EU) which had ordered a recall of Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 300 vehicles over factory defects.
CPC, in a letter to the dealer signed by its Director, Surveillance and Enforcement, Mrs. R.O. Ogundipe, stated that: “The attention of the council has been drawn to the fact that European Union (EU) authorities on February 19, 2016, recalled Chrysler 300 and Jeep Wrangler 2006 (TJ) model from the European market for safety reasons.
“According to the European Commission Rapid Alert System for No-Food Products (RAPEX), the Jeep Wrangler 2006 (TJ) model and Chrysler 300 vehicles produced between 2005 and 2010 were recalled due to factory defects associated with clutch pedal positions and the driver’s frontal bag respectively, which posed serious risks to consumers.”
It said: “Nigeria is a very big market and there is high possibility that many customers may currently be in possession of these affected models.”
The council, therefore, requested the auto dealer to within seven days of the receipt of its letter make available to it the number of affected vehicles in Nigeria (if any), steps taken to inform and sensitise consumers and efforts being made to facilitate quick recall of such vehicles in the country.
The CPC further explained that its directive was pursuant to the powers of the council to compel manufacturers to give public notice of any hazard inherent in their products.
In the Jeep Wrangler being recalled, the springs within the clutch pedal position switch that prevents the vehicle from starting unless the clutch pedal is pushed down may break, thus the vehicle may not be started when the clutch pedal is pushed down or the engine may crank and start without the clutch pedal being pushed down causing the vehicle to unexpectedly tilt, a statement by CPC spokesman, Abiodun Obimuyiwa, stated.
It added that upon the deployment of the driver-side frontal air bag of the Chrysler 300, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture with metal fragments striking and potentially inflicting serious injury on the vehicle occupants.