Fed to investigate engine fires in Cruze and Wrangler

In this May 24, 2011, file photo, an assemblyman works on the line building Chrysler 200 vehicles at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

an assemblyman works on the line at a Chrysler plant in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Carlos Osorio

(CBS/AP) - The government is investigating reports of engine fires in the Chevrolet Cruze small car and Jeep Wrangler SUV. The reports claim that possible engine malfunctions can cause the vehicles to be consumed in flames. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received two reports of fires in the 2011 model year Chevrolet Cruze. In both cases, the fires began while the cars were moving and destroyed the vehicles.

One complaint said their Cruze Eco began smoking on the road and flames appeared near the engine bay once the car was stopped. Within minutes the Cruze was "totally engulfed" according to the complaint.

General Motors Co. spokesman Alan Adler says the company knows of no deaths or injuries related to the issue. GM is cooperating with the investigation.

The Cruze was one of GM's best-selling models last year. Reuters reports the automaker sold nearly 232,000 of them.

The NHTSA has also received eight reports of fires in 2010 model year Jeep Wranglers. Most began when the vehicles were moving.

Chrysler Group spokesman Nick Cappa says the company knows of no accidents or injuries related to the issue. Chrysler is cooperating with the investigation.

NHTSA investigations can lead to vehicle recalls.

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