Chrysler recalls some Challengers, tells owners to stop driving

Chrysler Group LLC is recalling 4,459 model-year 2013 Dodge Challenger cars to address a potential short circuit that could cause a fire and took the rare step of telling owners to stop driving the affected cars.

The U.S. automaker, controlled by Italy's Fiat SpA , said about 2,500 of the cars are in owners' hands, while the rest are still with dealers. Of the total with owners, about 2,100 were sold in the United States, about 350 in the Middle East and the rest in Canada, a company spokesman said.

Affected owners are being advised to stop driving the cars and contact their dealers for loaner vehicles while repairs are completed, Chrysler said. Owners also should not park the cars in or near any structures.

It is extremely rare for an automaker to warn drivers to stop driving their vehicles immediately. Last summer, Ford Motor Co did that after it recalled about 11,500 model-year 2013 Escape SUVs with 1.6-liter engines due to the risk of an engine fire.

Chrysler said the short circuit could cause a wire harness to overheat and possibly lead to a fire. The company said it is aware of seven such incidents, but none caused any injuries.

The recall affects only 2013 Challengers built with V-6 engines during an eight-week period ended January 24, 2013, Chrysler said.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)