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Dodge Durango probed over seat fires

Feb 6, 2006 | Bloomberg News

DaimlerChrysler AG's Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle is being investigated by U.S. auto-safety regulators after reports of fires beneath the driver's seat.

The inquiry involves 15,381 vehicles from the 2001 through 2003 model years that don't have power seat adjusters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today on its Web site. Five fires have been reported, including three when the vehicle was parked and the key wasn't in the ignition, the agency said. No accidents or injuries were reported.

The company's Chrysler unit didn't immediately respond to calls seeking a comment. Chrysler sold 362,531 Durangos from October 2000 through September 2003, the period that includes the three model years, according to, which compiles vehicle sales data. Chrysler, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, is the third-largest U.S. automaker.

The Washington-based agency starts safety reviews with a preliminary evaluation. About 25 percent of the initial inquiries are upgraded, and the rest are closed. Upgraded investigations lead to recalls 70 percent of the time, according to NHTSA.

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