The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a voluntary recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the US regarding Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid models from 2017 and 2018. More importantly, FCA US advises owners of these vehicles to park outside and not recharge them, as there is a potential fire risk. 16,741 Pacifica PHEVs are potentially affected.
Specifically, the recall includes vehicles built from August 12, 2016 – the first production date for the 2017 model year – through the end of 2018 production on August 7, 2018. As for the problem, that's unfortunately still a mystery at this point. The NHTSA says FCA US opened an investigation on August 31, 2021, regarding a possible trend in vehicle fires in some Pacifica PHEVs. The company ultimately repurchased two burned vehicles for deeper investigations, but that process is ongoing and the root cause for the fires is unknown. As such, there isn't a remedy at this time.
That's why FCA US is advising owners to park outside and not recharge vehicles. The recall notice states that no known injuries or accidents have resulted from fires, but FCA US is aware of 10 Pacifica PHEV fires in addition to the two repurchased vehicles. Investigations into those fires are also ongoing, and the company has identified five customer records and 12 field reports that could relate to the issue. FCA US says fires could happen even with the ignition turned off.
Fire Concerns With Other Automakers:
This isn't the first fire issue for FCA US in recent months. In March 2021, Ram Heavy Duty truck owners were advised to park outside due to a potential short circuit in the engine bay. General Motors and Hyundai Motor Group are also under the microscope for fire problems, with Hyundai and Kia vehicle recalls totaling half a million vehicles.