Back in November, Stellantis recalled over 32,000 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrids for a risk of fire, even going so far as to tell owners not to park near flammable structures until the vehicles can be fixed. It’s not the first time the 4xe models have been recalled for battery issues, and a new suit alleges that the recall doesn’t line up with Stellantis’ learning of the fault. In fact, the class-action alleges that Stellantis knew about possible fires well in advance.

Last week, plaintiffs from seven states brought a class-action suit against Stellantis, claiming that the automaker had prior knowledge of the 4xe system’s propensity for burning up. The suit also claims the company omitted safety equipment from the car that could otherwise have saved the Jeeps from catching fire. From the suit, via About Lawsuits:

Without limitation, the Class Vehicles share a common defect in that they are all equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that makes the vehicles susceptible to a risk of spontaneous combustion, causing an unreasonable risk of death, serious bodily harm, and/or property damage to lessees and owners of the Class Vehicles as well as their homes, passengers, and bystanders. This defect rendered the Class Vehicles, when sold or leased and at all times thereafter, unmerchantable and unfit for their ordinary use of hybrid driving. In fact, as a result of the defect, FCA specifically advised owners and lessees not to charge their batteries and not to drive the Class Vehicles in electric mode.

141. As discussed above, on information and belief, FCA skimped on available safety technologies that would have precluded the Fire Defect, and, through the sort of testing that any responsible vehicle manufacturer would have done prior to launching the Class Vehicles, FCA knew or should have known of the defect. Yet, in order to pad its bottom line and launch the first-ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with the highest possible electric and overall range, FCA intentionally or recklessly foisted the outrageously dangerous Class Vehicles on unwitting class members.

It’s not yet clear what this suit’s future will be — whether thousands of owners will sign on, or whether the suit dies on the vine — but it’s yet another bad sign for the hybrid JL Wrangler. The car has already had 11 NHTSA recalls, and legal issues like this make the situation even worse for Stellantis as a whole. It’s especially bad considering the 4xe is the only version of the Wrangler sold in certain states.



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