Mike Jefferis, a delighted owner of a Jeep® Wrangler Sport (JL), was met with disbelief when he uncovered an alarming issue with his recently acquired vehicle. On his way home from the local Suncoast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership, Jefferis sensed an unusual brake sensation, prompting him to return the vehicle for inspection promptly.
To his astonishment, the dealership’s service technician identified “excessive rust” on all four rotors, leading to their immediate replacement. This raised questions for Jefferis, as to how a vehicle with a mere 199 miles could exhibit such severe corrosion.
Upon meticulous examination of the paperwork, Jefferis discovered that the technician had noted three separate instances of excessive rust. Troubled by this revelation, he inspected the undercarriage himself, capturing images that revealed rust and corrosion in various areas. This lead him to return the Jeep for further evaluation.
Jefferis expressed his astonishment, stating, “The rust is to the point where it’s actually deforming metal. You can see corrosion and you see bolts that would be a nightmare to remove.”
The matter was escalated to Jeep’s parent company, Stellantis. After Jefferis received a minimal offer of a couple of car payments and was advised to continue his four-year lease, WFLA Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken intervened. The dealership owner, uncertain of the rust’s origin, deferred the matter to Stellantis.
Behnken forwarded the evidence, including images and paperwork, to decision-makers at Stellantis. In response, Stellantis issued a statement acknowledging the anomaly, emphasizing recent advancements in the Wrangler’s anti-corrosion coating, which is now 10 percent thicker than its predecessor. Additionally, Stellantis reaffirmed its commitment to a rigorous pre-delivery inspection protocol.
“We recently celebrated [the] delivery of the five-millionth Jeep Wrangler. The current model benefits from an anti-corrosion coating that is 10% thicker than was used on the previous-generation vehicle. Further, Stellantis urges its dealers to adhere to a strict pre-delivery inspection protocol. We regret this valued customer’s experience and are pleased to have reached a satisfactory resolution,” a spokesperson from Stellantis stated.
Stellantis expressed regret for Jefferis’ distressing experience. They announced their resolution: repurchasing the Jeep, offering Jefferis a discount on a replacement, and initiating a thorough investigation into the incident. A spokesperson for Stellantis disclosed that they are examining the delivery route to gain insight into how this unprecedented rusting occurred.
Vehicle identification reports indicate that the Jeep arrived at a Ft. Myers dealership in late December 2022 and was subsequently purchased by the Seminole dealership in January. Stellantis is committed to conducting a comprehensive vehicle examination to uncover the root cause. Depending on their findings, the Jeep may undergo repairs and be sold as used, or it may be deemed irreparable and scrapped.
In the wake of this extraordinary situation, Stellantis is dedicated to ensuring the quality and integrity of their vehicles, reaffirming their commitment to customer satisfaction and safety.
Source: WFLA NBC 8