The vehicles are equipped with a powered tailgate on the trunk and the electrical panel is vulnerable to water infiltration, said Stellantis, the parent company behind Chrysler and Jeep. This can lead to an electrical short circuit and fire regardless of whether the car is switched on.
Drivers should look for inoperable power tailgates as an indication of a problem, the company said.
Vehicle owners can arrange for free repairs by contacting their local dealer or calling customer service at 800-853-1403 and referring to Recall 49A.
The automaker has not yet developed a remedy for the fire risk, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Drivers whose cars were damaged due to the defective parts are entitled to compensation.
SUVs repaired during the 2015 recall require new repairs, officials said. Owners of affected vehicles will be notified by post from 30 June.
FCA, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, began an investigation into “an increasing trend in cargo compartment fires” in certain Cherokee vehicles in January 2022, according to a regulatory filing.
From July 2017 to January 2023, FCA identified 50 customer assistance records, 23 warranty claims and 21 field reports related to the tailgate defect, it reported to NHTSA.
The company said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the defect.