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DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC recalled more than 248,000 crossover wagons and minivans because of a defect that could allow the key to slip while driving, causing the engine to shut down without warning.
Chrysler, which is managed by Italy's Fiat SpA, said it knew of two rear-end collisions that may have stemmed from this problem, according to a notice posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website on Thursday.
The affected models are the Dodge Journey crossover and the Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. The model year 2010 vehicles were made between August 3, 2009, and June 17, 2010.
About 3 percent of the 248,437 recalled vehicles are likely to have the problem, Chrysler said in the notice.
According to the notice, the company launched an internal investigation last September to evaluate a growing number of reports about the engine shutdown or stalling.
Harsh road conditions or driver contact with the key could move the key to the accessory position and shut down the engine, it said. Chrysler received 32 customer complaints and 465 warranty claims for the affected vehicles.
The supplier of the key is Continental AG, according to the notice.
The Town & Country and Caravan minivans were among the company's top-selling vehicles last year. Sales of those two vehicles combined made up 20 percent of Chrysler's overall sales in 2010.
Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace