Auburn Hills, Mich. – April 23, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 12,500 vehicles potentially equipped with defective body supports, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio sport utility vehicles produced between March 20, 2017, and Feb. 14, 2018.
FCA suspects that all of the vehicles referenced in the action contain the defective parts.
Affected vehicles feature A-pillar joints that are not properly sealed to adjacent heating ventilation air conditioning boxes. Consequently, moisture intrusion can occur, resulting in corrosion to the A-pillar and the body control module.
Should oxidization take place, various vehicle components may fail, including the windshield wipers, turn indicators, the horn and the exterior lighting system. Without these features, the likelihood of accident or injury increases dramatically. However, FCA has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any collisions or injuries.
Timeline of Events
The Alfa Romeo Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group on Sept. 15, 2017, launched an internal investigation after receiving a warranty claim detailing an instance of front wiring harness oxidization. More than one month later, stakeholders for the automaker, an FCA subsidiary, met to discuss the issue and the potential impact. On Oct. 26, 2017, a little over week after the stakeholder meeting, Alfa Romeo received another warranty clam outlining multiple electrical failures. This promoted a more in-depth investigation, which continued into 2018.
Between October 2017 and January 2018, the Alfa Romeo Quality and Product Development Body Engineering team attempted to recreate the outcomes described in the warranty claims in house. This involved testing the vehicle in question for water intrusion. This analysis later revealed the presence of corrosion near where the A-pillar is sealed to the heating ventilation air conditioning box.
Engineers for the automaker concurrently performed water intrusion tests on the nearby body control module, finding similar results. On March 19, 2018, Alfa Romeo concluded its investigation with validation tests performed via handheld wand and end-of-line water analysis.
Members of the Vehicle Regulations Committee reviewed the matter March 23, 2018, and decided that a voluntary safety recall was necessary. Alfa Romeo notified dealers of the impending action March 29, 2018.
Alfa Romeo has directed dealers to install additional sealant protections in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The automaker intends to notify owners via first-class mail May 18, 2018. Those in need or more immediate assistance can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code U36. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.