December 10, 2004
Under pressure from federal safety regulators, DaimlerChrysler has agreed to recall 600,000 of its popular Dodge Durango SUVs, along with some Dodge Dakota pickup trucks -- due to problems with front-end ball joints.
A spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday it wanted DaimlerChrysler to voluntarily recall the vehicles to address the problem after it received 28 reports of drivers finding themselves in dangerous situations and the spokesman said that if the carmaker declines, the agency might take action to force a recall. ConsumerAffairs.com has received more than 60 reports of ball joint problems in the Durango and related models.
On Friday, DaimlerChrysler agreed to recall 600,000 Durango and Dakota vehicles from the 2000 to 2003 model years but said it didn't consider the defect to be a safety hazard and denied knowing of any injuries. NHTSA also said it knew of no injuries.
Consumer advocates were dismayed by DaimlerChrysler's insistence the problem was not a safety hazard.
"ConsumerAffairs.com has received at least five reports of accidents resulting from ball joint failure. At least one resulted in a minor injury," said ConsumerAffairs.com President James R. Hood. "In one incident, the Durango went out of control and struck an oncoming vehicle. In another, a Durango swerved out of control, hit a light pole and then a concrete abutment."
"It's unbelievable anyone would say with a straight face that a suspension collapse is not a safety hazard," Hood said. "The truth is no one knows how many deaths and injuries have been caused by this defect because the evidence can easily be destroyed in an accident that results from a high-speed suspension failure."
Consumers have long complained to ConsumerAffairs about a number of problems with the Durango, including the safety problem highlighted by the NHTSA.
Earlier this year, J.A. of Dalton Illinois wrote, "While driving my 2000 Dodge Durango, I lost control of my truck and it continued to go left. The steering wheel was straight and the truck was going to the left."
"I was traveling at about 25 mph. My vehicle struck an oncoming car and continued into a gas station where my vehicle struck the concrete barrier around the gas pump. It continued to slide out of the gas station onto a residential street where we finally came to rest in a front yard," he said.
Under pressure from federal safety regulators, DaimlerChrysler has agreed to recall 600,000 of its popular Dodge Durango SUVs due to problems with front-en...