The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into model year 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received three reports from consumers alleging the headliner of the vehicle caught fire near the area of the passenger side sun visor. The consumer complaints reported a burning odor and visible smoke coming from the headliner while the vehicle was being driven. This was followed by flames from the headliner itself.
The vehicle owners reported lowering the windows in an effort to clear the smoke but this increased the fire's intensity. All three vehicles had to be extinguished with a fire extinguisher or by the fire department as they continued to burn after the vehicle was turned off. The fire also caused the sunroof to shatter in one incident, and in another the fire spread to the passenger seat when the burning sun visor fell onto the seat.
In each case, the incident resulted in the vehicle being inoperable, requiring it to be towed to the dealership. NHTSA is opening this investigation to evaluate the scope, frequency, and consequence of the alleged defect.
Upon the conclusion of this initial investigation, ODI will determine what, if any, additional steps need to be taken. This could include further investigation, or a potential safety recall of all affected Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles.
The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints under the following identification (ODI) numbers: 10522665, 10522159, and 10515592.