By on July 12, 2012

European automakers know that there is only one thing that is worse than Teknikens Värld fabled moose test, and that is failing the moose test and then arguing with the Swedish magazine. Italy-owned Chrysler is getting that education.  Not enough that Teknikens Värld  found  the Jeep Grand Cherokee “lethal in evasive maneuver.”  

It now caught Chrysler’s propaganda arm committing a deadly sin in the hoopla business, violating the first commandment of flackery: When you stepped in the shit, don’t walk around the house.

After  “the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 3.0 CRD V6 tipped up on two wheels and was close to rolling over in the Teknikens Värld moose test, despite having packed the car in accordance to Jeep’s specifications,”  Chrysler lashed out against the magazine, calling the report “definitely “set up,” which is nothing short of criminal.” Chrysler says the vehicle was overloaded by 110 lbs, a claim many overworked and underpaid web editor swallowed and printed.

Not true, says Teknikens Värld. In a spirited retort that may get more traffic than the original story, and Chrysler in trouble with the authorities, Teknikens Värld editor Mattias Rabe writes:

“Prior to the moose test we packed the car with four passengers and sandbags with a combined weight of 602 kilos (1 327 lbs) which is the maximum amount according to the cars certificate of registration that has been provided by Jeep/Chrysler to the Swedish Transport Agency, Transportstyrelsen. We proceeded to our test track to conduct the moose test. We immediately noticed that there was something strange about the car’s behavior – it tended to tip over on two wheels even at low speeds. We accordingly unloaded 100 kilos (220 lbs) out of the car so that the total cargo weight now registered at 502 kilos (1 106 lbs), 100 kilos under Jeep/Chryslers own registered maximum cargo weight. When we hit the track once again – now at the, for the type of vehicle, low speed of 63.5 km/h (39.5 mph) – the car went up on to two wheels and nearly rolled over.”

How the test is conducted: Standard evasive maneuver, no moose needed

Not enough that the Grand Cherokee failed the moose test, something that can seriously impede a car’s career in Europe (ask Daimler about the A-class.) Not enough that Chrysler’s public remarks will have attracted the attention of even the laziest lawyer. Spurned  Teknikens Värld now alleges that Chrysler supplied wrong information to the Swedish government, saying that the car weighs “a full 158 kilos (348 lbs) more than what Jeep/Chrysler claims the car to weigh in the official documentation provided to Swedish authorities.”

Sweden is a member of the EU, the EU has Whole Vehicle Type Approval (a car legal in one EU state is legal in all,) and providing wrong information to one government quickly can turn into a pan-European mess.

Chrysler’s reaction, including the recommendation that Teknikens Värld editors take “phosphorous tablets, “a well-known supplement to support brain and memory” is mean spirited , and it is guaranteed to produce lots of bad PR.

Some may notice that the tires are in a perilous state on that picture. Teknikens Värld says the moose test was “conducted with the correct tire pressure for maximum load according to the recommendations provided by Jeep/Chrysler via a sticker on the car’s B-pillar.”

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61 Comments on “Chrysler Fails Moose Test And Breaks First Commandment...”


  • avatar

    I wonder if the Jeep SRT8 would fail this test considering it has a lower center of gravity?

    I live in NYC and everyone here loves this truck. Never seen or heard of a rollover in the new one.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Out of curiosity, how common are rollovers of any type in NYC?

      • 0 avatar

        very, very uncommon. People have figured out: #1 don’t buy SUV’s if you plan on driving faster than 50mph and #2 don’t try and drive an SUV like a car.

        We have a shortage of Moose up here.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        @bigtruck: New York may have a shortage of moose, but I’d argue that 10th Avenue is as good a rollover test as any Swedish highway, particularly when a taxi decides that it wants your lane RIGHT NOW and you have to swerve out of the way (often at 50mph) to avoid it. My old RX300 was a tub of lard, but it never threatened to roll when I had to take evasive action to avoid a taxi (or a pedestrian or food cart that decides to cross the street without looking). And I certainly haven’t seen any Grand Cherokees cartwheeling down the street.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I wonder if the Jeep SRT8 would fail this test considering it has a lower center of gravity?”

      One of my sons bought a 2012 SRT8 and took me for spin on a nearby demolition-derby dirt race track after he bought it. I screamed like a little girl. I’ve never been drifting in a Grand Cherokee before and it was quite an experience. No hint of tipping over, either. Pretty stiff ride compared to the others.

      But each of the Grand Cherokees exhibits a different kind of handling characteristic. For instance, my wife’s 2012 Overland 4×4 with its air suspension and 18″ alloys tends to wallow more than her girlfriends 2012 Limited 5.7 4×4 with the 17″ alloys which exhibits an almost stiff and rigid ride.

      I have an old Air Force buddy who owns a 2012 Laredo 4×4 with the Pentastar V6 and quite honestly I think it handles and rides best of all. Probably because it is the lightest of the bunch.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    If Chrysler tries to shout down and intimidate the media in a manner such as this, one can only imagine what Chrysler does to low-level employees trying to reveal problems.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      They’ve been spoiled by the US media’s kowtowing to the Obama regime’s pet UAW enterprises. They can sell self-immolating Wranglers here without worrying about a mention on the national news.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    No cones knocked, no penalty! Considering that is the average autocross speed, do you think SCCA would allow this? VWs do the three legged dog stance lifting the inside rear wheel around the cones and no one complained.

    Though might have to add some air pressure to those tires as new wheels could get expensive if the tire rolls off of it.

  • avatar
    redav

    Just a thought – if the weight of the car didn’t match the reported value, could it be as simple as the options package for that particular vehicle?

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    How is the milage on the 3.0 CRD V6 compared to the gas powered pentastar?

  • avatar
    TR4

    IIRC, when the Daimler A-Class failed this test it was pointed out that the lowly Trabant passed.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    Remember this? Looks familiar, just say’in

    “The settlement involves no money, but it includes a “clarification” by Consumers Union that writing that Samurai “easily” rolls over in turns may have been “misconstrued or misunderstood.”

    Consumers Union also says in the agreement that it “never intended to imply that the Samurai easily rolls over in routine driving conditions.” And it notes that it “never questioned the safety of any other Suzuki model” and, in fact, “praised the Suzuki Sidekick and recommended the Suzuki Vitara/XL-7.”

    Consumers Union must refer to the agreement whenever it mentions ratings or testing of the Samurai. For example, when subscribers search for articles about the Samurai on the Consumer Reports Web site, the agreement will appear at the top of the articles.”

    Credit to Mr. Ronnie Schreiber for the text.

  • avatar
    Feds

    Pertinent:

    http://www.templar.com/games/Esuvee/dswmedia/EsuveeGame.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ7bcUrjNIk

    “Nawt evrybuddy rides ‘em ry-it”

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Fiat-Chrysler reaction aside, I’m on the fence about tests like this. While I like to have the information of the results to compare vehicles, I do not expect all vehicles to be safe as sedans in evasive maneuvers.

    Such tests are to save the uniformed (dumb) driver from themselves. My wife is informed to not swerve sharply or go off the curb in our SUV for (non-moose) objects, rather, just plow into them. Such tests are for the drivers ignorant of their vehicle, who probably text while driving in unsafe conditions, follow too close, don’t look for dangers, etc. I say let them get killed. But then the problem is the innocent passengers/bystanders, but again, they have the option not to ride with incompetents.

    Is everyone aware that the star-rated crash tests are with seatbelts unbuckled, just for these clowns?

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Last summer I saw an älg cross in front of us on a country road north of Stockholm. It was a female and it was frighteningly large and most of its mass was at windshield height. I would definitely not want to hit one at speed, it would likely be lethal.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      +1 bunkie
      The few moose I’ve seen out here in the more remote parts of BC are HUGE. If you hit one, the main part of the body is going to go through your windscreen, even in a large high riding SUV. Avoidance is definitely the name of the game.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        There’s at least one fatality a year in Manitoba related to hitting a moose. Here’s this year’s:

        http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Man-dead-in-midnight-crash-161671355.html

        A driver should be able to swerve to avoid the moose as the odds are high that the vehicle’s occupants may well perish in a collision with a moose.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      If the vehicle is significantly different, stability and accident-avoidance wise, than others in its segment, especially when demonstrating dynamice like those pictured, then it is NOT irresponsible journalism to call it out.

      Conversely, if an OEMs benchmarks, and releases a vehicle that is not on-par with, or better than, the competition, then this IS irresponsible.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Very different than Jack Baruth’s take on this yesterday…

    I have driven a number of new Jeep Grand Cherokees long distances through remote areas where moose are common, and never felt unsafe. Subjectively, the JGC feels solid, steers well, and is my favourite vehicle for this sort of trip. An SUV is the only vehicle that makes sense for these trips – 4wd and some ground clearance is a must for some of these “roads”, especially in poor weather.

    In my case, the trucks are never heavily loaded – 1 or 2 people on board, with minimal luggage. And they tend to be Pentastar powered, the diesel isn’t even available here in Canada. Perhaps if they were loaded near their limit they would not feel as stable.

    How many off road capable SUVs did Teknikens Värld test? It would be interesting to see how the JGC compares with a 4Runner or other similar vehicle under the same conditions. Of course if the 4Runner failed, the test would no doubt be considered a “Witch Hunt”…

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      In the original article, they gave comparisons to several other 4-wheel-drive vehicles available in the european market, notably the VW Touareg. Those other vehicles passed.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      How it feels under normal conditions can only give cold comfort after the vehicle loses its composure.

      I’m sure there are more than a few dead 911 drivers that were extolling the virtues of lateral grip just before the rear axle decided it wanted to lead!

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    1. Why would more weight in the seats make the car more likely to roll?

    2. Don’t vehicles like the JGC have electronic nannies these days to prevent this sort of thing?

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      For #1. The center of gravity is likely below the seats, so weight below the CG helps, above hurts, the results. (Sometimes automakers add useless weight below the CG just to get good rollover results!)
      For #2. Hmm. I too hear no mention of that.

    • 0 avatar
      Slab

      Re:#2 – The original story said that the electronic nannies were ineffective in the Jeep. It noted the VW Touareg has particularly effective nannies.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        I think there is something fishy about the story. A modern OEM cannot sell SUVs to the average American driver, who — we all must concede — is an idiot with a delusional sense of his own driving skill, without hyper vigilant electronic nannies. Anything else is asking for multimillion dollar wrongful death verdicts. Something Jeep has long experienced due to the often fatal combination of Jeep CJs and drunken teen-age boys.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        “It noted the VW Touareg has particularly effective nannies.”

        Speaking of a PR disaster in the making… The Tuaregs, now heavily armed with weapons ferried out of Libya during their civil war, have successfully performed a military coup in Mali and have quite a few countries (and the UN) worried that they will be causing trouble for many more African nations.

        I wonder how bad it has to get before VW regrets naming their flagship SUV after them.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That’s awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        You’ve also got to remember that the electronic nannies actually do and don’t do. As far as I know, stability does things things like back off the throttle so as to reduce the cornering-force.

        I understand that they don’t slam on the brakes, or straighten out the wheel.

        Also, think about the input the system has: it only has things that you can see from inside the engine compartment. It doesn’t know what the road-contours are, for instance, or where a curb or rock may be sticking out of the road.

        So, while I’ve had ABS and TSC save me from embarrassment at times, these systems are limited. For instance, the individual-wheel braking in my Prius can turn the car in astoundingly slipper conditions, up until you attempt a tight-turn at about 20mph — and then you’re driving a hockey puck at 20mph because there’s no amount of electronic adjustment to what the driver is doing that can possibly overcome the physics of friction.

        These system do regularly save the lives of careless drivers and their passengers but, as a fancy extension of ABS, they’re limited in what they are and what they can do.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        I think we need Baruth to tell us what the nannies would actually do in this situation.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Outside of politics, I would say the first rule of PR is to tell the truth always. After that, It seems to me that failing to react aggressively to dishonest and unfair attacks is simply asking for more. My wife, a top PR expert, recommends a more conservative path in most cases, and I can’t talk her out of it. She is probably right, but that doesn’t make wrong.

    No easy choices.

  • avatar
    thatguy

    My understanding was that the controversy centered around an inability to repeat the results of the original test. If that is indeed true, Chrysler’s reaction doesn’t seem inappropriate. Can someone clarify?

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Yes, I can: Automakers are often very arrogant.

    • 0 avatar

      That was my understanding as well. I think what it boils down to is this: Chrysler stated that the vehicle weighed 2347kg, but it actually weighed 2505kg.

      The amount of ballast put into the Jeep was based on 2347kg, but since it was actually heavier, the magazine had overloaded the vehicle (not their fault). When they said that the results could not be repeated later, that was probably on the knowledge that the Jeep was heavier than Chrysler originally stated.

      So, instead of Chrysler saying “oh my bad” and “sorry we gave you the wrong weight, glad you weren’t hurt in the test”, they attacked Teknikflookens magazine. Bad Sergio! Bad!

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Was the weight secured? If not, and the weight was allowed to shift to one side in an evasive maneuver that could cause it to get tippy.

    • 0 avatar
      cardriver88

      The cargo is secured. I quote from the Swedish magazine.
      “The sandbags are restrained to the trunk’s anchoring points and with the lowest possible centre of gravity.”

      http://www.teknikensvarld.se/jeepmoosetest-part2/
      Look at the first bullet.

  • avatar
    shelvis

    C’mon. How about reporting that the magazine was unable to repeat the results? Multiple attempts and they couldn’t get any of the 3 JGCs on hand to do it. They even admit to overloaded the vehicle by 100 lbs and there’s some speculation that they set the adjustable suspension up to its highest point.
    If you can’t replicate results, your test is invalid. End of story.
    More in depth journalism in pursuit of web hits.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Links or quotes would make this a far more compelling argument.

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        Allpar article:
        http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2012/07/moose-test-faked

        Chrysler statement:
        Grand Cherokee Statement for Teknikens Varld Test

        Chrysler Group engineers are investigating a Swedish magazine’s evaluation of the 2012 Grand
        Cherokee. During the evaluation, the publication was able to capture images of a Grand Cherokee on two wheels as it performed an extreme maneuver in an overloaded condition.

        Advised of this event by the magazine, Chrysler Group engineers made numerous attempts to
        reproduce the wheel-lift in a properly loaded vehicle. Extensive testing produced no such result.
        A subsequent evaluation was conducted by the magazine July 8 in Sweden and witnessed by Chrysler Group engineers. Three vehicles performed 11 runs on a course prepared by the magazine. None reproduced the original event.

        The uncharacteristic result was obtained using a vehicle loaded beyond its weight specifications. The Grand Cherokee’s weight limitations are clearly stated on the vehicle and in the owner’s manual. Also, the extreme maneuver performed by the magazine is not certified by any regulatory agency, nor is it used to establish any sanctioned safety ratings.
        Chrysler Group takes seriously any safety concerns and engineers are examining the event to better understand the magazine’s claims.

        A “Top Safety Pick” of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2012 Grand Cherokee is an award-winning SUV that features Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation as
        standard equipment. It meets or exceeds all government safety mandates and its outstanding
        performance has made it the most awarded SUV in history.

        Chrysler’s blog entry:
        http://blog.chryslerllc.com/blog.do?p=entry&id=1833

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Chrysler’s PR response fails to mention that the weight specifications they supplied to the Swedish government (and by extension likely to other EU governments as well) were off by 158 kg. Based on the numbers filed by Chrysler, the truck was not overloaded, but rather 100 kg below maximum load.

        And that may be the real story of this test.

        http://www.teknikensvarld.se/jeepmoosetest-part3/

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    A møøse once bit my sister!
    Nø, realli!

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    “Not enough that the Grand Cherokee failed the moose test, something that can seriously impede a car’s career in Europe (ask Daimler about the A-class.)”

    Funny, then, that this Jeep is based on Daimler underpinnings…

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    What is Italian for ‘Streisand Effect?’

  • avatar
    Oelmotor

    The moose test actually put the Mercedes A-Class in the spotlight and they sold over a million of those things. Does the Cherokee have ESP?

    Whenever I see a US SUV or pick-up cruising the “autobahn,” I think about why it should limited to 100 km/h.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Why should an SUV or pick-up be limited to 100km/h? Do they spontaneously combust or do small dogs whine with terror? I think doing 62 mph on highway with a speed limit of 70 mph would create many unsafe situations. Or lots of people telling me I’m number one. Can you enlighten me on your thought process? I used to regularly cruise the tri-state tollway at 85mph. Yes, I realized a blowout of one of my over sized tire would result in a nasty wreck.Or do you just think trucks/SUVs are bad, bad things?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Because cornering an F-150 on twisty German highway with no speed limit *does* seem a little insane.

        I’ve found that American trucks (such as the F-150/Expedition/etc) are better at cornering they look, but that really isn’t saying much.

        An F-150 would be a nice choice for cruising across the High Plains at 120mph, but it really wouldn’t be my first choice for the autobahn.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        Just as a sidebar: trucks, buses and any vehicle pulling a trailer are all limited to travelling 100 km/h on the Autobahn, regardless of speed (non-) limit in effect. So the SUVs definitely wouldn’t be alone in the right lane at that speed while 2 litre diesel hatchbacks pass by at twice the velocity.

  • avatar
    room339

    Wait a minute, didn’t your own Jack B write a post about how valid Chrysler’s claims of a wrongdoing were? I’m confused, which side of this is TTAC on? Didn’t Chrysler reps go there, control the conditions, and were unable to recreate the behavior? I have questions, but no answers. Please help!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Uh no. I’ve driven pick-ups and American SUVs on the autobahn, M roads, and the autostrada. The trucks in the right lane are commercial trucks, not personal vehicles. Most of the autobahn has speed limits nowadays, the M roads have posted speed cameras, and you’ll probably get rear ended on the autostrada. The three things Americans have to deal with are: 1. getting used to and reacting when driving at high speeds, 2. How huge your vehicle is compared to European cars, 3. WTF looks from people seeing you in an SUV or crew cab truck. You either get the autobahn(what we patterned our interstates after) M roads, or the autostrada or scenic twisty European roads. You don’t get both. Speeds are strictly enforced once you get off the expressways. Been there, done that with free gas.


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