The Center for Auto Safety today called on DaimlerChrysler to take responsibility for oil sludge in its 2.7L engine with a full course of remedial actions including:
1. Extend the warranty on the 2.7L engine to 10 years and unlimited miles for oil sludge damage.
2. Reimburse consumers who have already experienced failures for their past repair expenses.
3. Reimburse consumers for their incidental and consequential damages including any loss on forced sales or trade-ins caused by engine failure.
4. Stop treating oil sludge as a presumptive case of improper maintenance and honor the normal maintenance schedule of oil changes every 7,500 miles or 6 months and recognize that not every consumer has every record of every oil change. Instead treat oil sludge as presumptive case of a manufacturing defect.
5. Create a simple inspection procedure to determine the presence of oil sludge.
6. Identify all design changes to the 2.7L engine since the 1998 model year done to or which can mitigate engine oil sludging.
7. Create an engineering team to identify and correct the design defects in the 2.7L engine in much the same way Lee Iacocca set up a special engineering team for its A604 Ultradrive electronic transmission in 1990 when CAS .called for action.
8. Make public the findings of the engineering team and provide information to the service industry and public on the latest repairs and 2.7L engine modifications.
9. Notify owners of all 1998-2002 Dodge and Chrysler vehicles with 2.7L engines of the remedial program and implement a follow-up program which was lacking in Toyota’s program to ensure that the extended warranty is honored in the future.
CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow said,
"The 2.7L engine introduced by Chrysler in 1998 is a nightmare for consumers. It is prone to catastrophic and expensive failure. If it doesn’t cause accident and injury, it causes severe economic damage. As shown by the complaints to CAS, the cost of repair often exceeds the value of the vehicle with some consumer parking them as lawn ornaments until they can afford to repair them. Other consumers let the finance company take them back or trade them in for a pittance. It is simply unfair for a multi-billion corporate to force consumers to pay for its engineering mistakes.
Product quality and owner satisfaction are the challenges of the 21st Century for all automobile manufacturers in the competitive world market. It is not enough to be as good as other auto companies, a company must be better than its competitors. For that reason we are asking DaimlerChrysler to do better than VW and Toyota in coping with engine oil sludge. The failure to meet this challenge will surely cost DaimlerChrysler market share."