The federal investigation of engine compartment fires in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze has been widened to include 2012 models.
The probe was opened in March by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after two complaints of fires in 2011 cars. It now has a complaint involving a 2012, so has added this model year. There have been no injuries or crashes reported, but the latest complaint is dramatic: The driver has told NHTSA that flames burst through the front of the 2012 Cruze while traveling at about 45 mph, reports Automotive News.
NHTSA documents say it got the first two complaints about fires starting in the engine bay of 2011 cars in March and that both led to “engulfing fires resulting in total vehicle loss.” It also that it has identified related field reports in its Early Warning Reporting database.
The initial probe covered 177,000 cars. Adding the 2012s brings it to about 370,000 GM spokesman Alan Adler told the Associated Press. Adler told Auto News that GM is also investigating several fires, but wouldn’t comment on the number.
In documents posted on its website this week, the AP reports, NHTSA has asked GM for any complaints it has regarding overheated wiring, smoke or fire in the engine compartments of 2011 and 2012 Cruze models. According to the documents, the probe is focusing on electrical wiring and connectors, and on a transmission control module.
Such investigations may or may not lead to a recall.
A big Cruze recall would be a major blow for GM. Cruze, which rolled out with the 2011 model, is GM’s first really competitive compact car in many years and its sales success has been part of both the automaker’s financial and image recovery.