by Photo courtesy of Chrysler

A lawsuit was filed in San  Diego Federal court on behalf of a Chula Vista man against Chrysler regarding a defect in its Pacifica minivans due to its potential to catch fire and explode.

The suit was filed on Monday on behalf of Scott Olsen, who states he bought one of the minivans in 2018 to transport his disabled son, calling on the company to take responsibilty. 

​​"Now I basically have a ticking car bomb that Chrysler is not taking back, and which Chrysler tells me not to charge and not to park near other cars and not to park near my home or any other structure. This is a crazy situation," Olsen states. "I filed suit because Chrysler needs to take responsibility for the unsafe minivans today — not next week — not a month from now — today. It is a matter of public safety.”

Stellantis —the automotive corporation that owns the Chrysler brand—recalled the 2017 and 2018 models of the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle, impacting nearly 20,000 minivans. Since its recall, owners were asked to not plug in the hybrids, avoid parking them near structures, and other vehicles following an internal investigation that demonstrated 12 fires occurring in those models. 

According to the attorneys representing Olsen, the recall marks the second time Pacifica Hybrids have been recalled due to fire risks. In 2020, more than 27,000 vans were recalled due to a battery defect.

“The vehicles have been rendered largely unusable, with no automatic fix. Consumers should not be ones to pay for Chrysler's mistake," said Niall McCarthy, one of the attorneys representing Olsen.

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it's possible for a fire to happen even when the ignition is off. It remains unclear where the source of the fire comes from. 

The automaker said that the "remedy is under development”. 

Owners of potentially affected Pacifica minivans can check the NHTSA recalls site for more details.

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