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Chrysler recalling nearly 350,000 vehicles; faulty ignition switches could shut down engines

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DETROIT — Chrysler is recalling nearly 350,000 older cars and SUVs to fix defective ignition switches that can cause the vehicles to stall.

With the latest recall, Chrysler has called back more than 2 million vehicles for defective switches. The switches can slip out of the "on" position, which is similar to the problem that forced General Motors to recall millions of vehicles this year.

The new recall covers Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans and Dodge Magnum wagons from the 2008 model year. All were built before May 12, 2008.

Chrysler says the ignitions, after being rotated to the "start" position, may not fully return to the "on" position. If the switches lodge between "start" and "on," the windshield defroster and wipers may not work. If the switches move to "accessory" or "off," the engine could shut off and knock out power-assisted steering and other features.

Chrysler knows of one crash and no injuries from the problem.

The company is still determining the cause of the switch problem and what repairs will be needed, a spokesman said Thursday. In the meantime, Chrysler is telling owners to use the key without a keychain or other attachments and confirm that the switches return to "on" after starting their cars.

The recall stemmed from a broader industry probe by U.S. safety regulators after GM recalled 16.5 million vehicles for defective ignition switches.

In 2011, Chrysler recalled 196,000 Dodge Journey SUVs and Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from the 2007 through 2009 model years to fix their ignition switches.

After this year's GM recalls, Chrysler added 696,000 minivans and SUVs to the 2011 recall, covering the same vehicles and the Volkswagen Routan minivan — which Chrysler made — from the 2007 to 2010 model years.

In July, Chrysler recalled 792,300 Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 model years for the same issue.

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