Chrysler Puts Magna on the Hot Seat

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
chrysler puts magna on the hot seat

Back when Daimler was flogging Chrysler, Canada's Magna Corporation was supposedly hot to acquire the [soon to be ailing] American automaker. Given today's news– Chrysler is suing Magna for damages over defective seat heaters– look for Frank Stronach's boys to help Chrysler out of a jam– by kicking Cererbus' bitch down the stairs. The background… For some time now, ambulance-chasers have been lining-up to suck some cash from Chrysler after heated seats in 1999 and '00 Chrysler minivans [allegedly] burned some butts. In a latter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in '04, "DaimlerChrysler said it had received 221 customer complaints about minivan seats overheating. Of those complaints, 26 were allegations of minor injuries and 33 were alleged fires. Five complaints resulted in lawsuits." That was then. As Automotive News [sub] reports, Chrysler spinmeister Michael Palese now says his employer had "only one reported case of injuries caused by the defective minivan seats." Chrysler's lawsuit demands that Magna take responsibility (i.e. pay for) for the recalls, after Magna "disputed any obligation to reimburse Chrysler for costs incurred in remedying the allegedly [?] defective heated seat assemblies." Palese was plenty testy on the advisability of suing a key supplier: "We're not a charity. If we deserve compensation or consideration, we will pursue it." As will the lawyers suing Chrysler, whether they deserve it or not.

Join the conversation
4 of 8 comments
  • Eh_political Eh_political on Jun 16, 2008

    I agree with Gardiner Westbound. Plus the last thing Chrysler needs right now is a public airing about their crappy specs and standards. It focuses the mind of the dimmest consumer that does a lick of research on across the board cheapness of Chrysler products.

  • MikeInCanada MikeInCanada on Jun 16, 2008

    The seat overheating was not due to a malfunction or faulty components but to mistaken design assumptions. By use of advanced thermodynamic modeling and powerful CATIA based tools the Canadian engineers at Magna were able to accurately calculate the exact amount of heat transfer (in BTU's) that would be radiated from the seat into the occupant. The mistake was that by using attractive French Canadian women as a baseline the heaters experienced significant thermal losses as their narrow waist and small butts covered only a fraction of the seat surface - thereby limiting heat transfer. Unfortunately, when used by a statistical mean sized Mid Western housewife (I'm talking about you Wichita), a significantly greater amount of the seat surface was covered by the occupant, thermal losses were reduced, resulting in an exponential increase in thermal coefficients and subsequently, a higher then expected amount of heat was inducted into the driver. See, it's all scientific......

  • Dew542512 Dew542512 on Jun 16, 2008

    to: MikeInCanada I believe you are correct in your assumption. Had they used the normal English style woman - say a Walmart type shopper from Brampton they would have had a much more ample sample to work from. On a lighter note - when I read this I couldnt help but wonder if burnt ass smells like the interior of a new car.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jun 16, 2008

    Is there any constituent group The New Chrysler isn't trying to make spitting mad at them? Customers? Employees? Bankers? Suppliers? Let's just kick 'em all in the teeth seems to be the Chrysler way. Have you ever heard of a Japanese auto company getting into a lawsuit shouting match with any of it's key suppliers? Ford went to the mat with Bridgestone over tires and is still battling with Navistar over diesel engines. Chrysler seems to have a whole division of lawyers engaged in supplier lawsuits. GM recently took one of it's unions to court. This love of legal battles is not doing the 2.8 any good at all.