BMW and Chrysler Announce Recalls

BMW notified the national highway Traffic Safety Administration that it is recalling 30,265 of its 2007-2010 X5 utility vehicles. In its filing, the company said that brake vacuum pumps could leak lubricating oil onto the vacuum hose and cause the brake booster, which uses a vacuum to multiply the amount of force the foot applies to the brake, to fail.

Although it has not yet received any complaints, Reuters reported, BMW said that power assist braking could fail and lead to a greater stopping distance, which could result in a crash. The company will provide free replacement parts and will notify customers and dealers this month.

Chrysler also announced Feb. 14 that it would recall 370,297 pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles globally. The company, controlled by Italy's Fiat, said the affected models are the 2009-2012 Ram 1500 pickups, 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota pickups and 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs. In the United States, 278,222 vehicles are affected, with 63,321 in Canada and 23,767 in Mexico.

A spokesman told Reuters that Chrysler is aware of about 15 accidents related to the recall, but no injuries. Dealers will install a retainer to secure a loose fastener that could cause the rear axle to lock up, at no cost to the customer.

Last October, Chrysler recalled more than 44,000 Dakotas and Ram 1500 pickups for the same defect, but after investigating more field reports and customer complaints, it found the problem was more widespread than first expected. The recall is expected to begin in March, according to the NHTSA report.

Recalls are generally minor fixes, as these two cases are, and are pretty common. On average, the NHTSA issues over 200 recalls a year, and investors don't usually take notice. The cost of a recall usually depends on the cost of the fix, legal liabilities and hits to a company's reputation.

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