BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
The Rockland County Times, starting on November 30, 2017, through its Ombudsman, joined the efforts of the Center for Auto Safety, founded by Ralph Nader, to demand that Chrysler recall 160,000 Pacifica Minvans due to their dangerous stalling problems. The author of this column represented Ralph Nader in the greater New York region in the latter part of the last century and has often worked with Nader’s Center for Auto Safety on consumer issues.
The title of this November 30, 2017 article was “Breaking News, Center for Auto Safety Demands Chrysler Recall 150,000* Pacifica Minivans.” Due to the urgency of the need to recall these vehicles the Ombudsman Alert put forth two additional articles on the issue. The second of three articles dated December 14, 2017, was titled: “Chrysler Motors: Stop the Stalling of the Pacifica Minivans or Provide Loaner Cars.”
Each of the first two published articles were tweeted throughout the US by several National Auto Safety Groups adding to the pressure mounting on both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Chrysler Motors to seriously consider recalling these 160,000 vehicles. In order to strengthen this case even further, Ombudsman-Alert called upon two of the most prestigious consumer groups in the US, Consumers Union and J.D. Power to side with the newspaper in either immediately calling for the recall of these vehicles or providing a free Loaner Car until this recall was approved.
The final article entitled “Consumers Union Agrees, Chrysler Should Stop Stalling or Provide Loaner Cars” was published on December 21, 2017 and also tweeted all around the entire country. It was was most significant and critical to this victory that even Consumers Union, the Policy and Mobilization Division of Consumer Reports, agreed with our paper’s recommendation. Unfortunately, J.D. Power, which had already rated the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan “First in its Class,” failed to recognize this stalling problem after conducting their studies and would not join in on our request.
Finally, on January 12, 2018, Chrysler announced it would proceed with the recall.
The greatest credit for this important victory in recalling these 160,000 vehicles certainly belongs to the Center for Auto Safety. The Ombudsman Alert also believes this action demonstrates that a proactive newspaper like the Rockland County Times can play an important role in consumer issues and influence lawmakers to do right by the public.
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* The recall number was initially reported as 150,000 but actually is closer to 160,000