US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating two cases of brand new 2015 Cherokees catching fire.

Detroit, Michigan - US auto safety regulators are investigating engine compartment smoke or fire complaints in two Jeep Cherokees, and air bags that didn't inflate properly in two Nissan Rogues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website on Friday that the Cherokee probe covers 50 000 of the SUVs from the 2015 model year.

One owner in California told the agency he smelled oil from under the bonnet while driving on 4 January. Shortly after the Cherokee was parked at home, white smoke came from under the bnnet.

“Within seconds the entire car was engulfed in fire, flames 20 feet high. Burning oil or fuel ran down the street over 50 yards,” the owner said in the complaint.

The other owner complained of smoke from under the bonnet while driving at 100km/h, also on 4 January. Each Cherokee had less than 160km on its odometer.

No injuries were reported.

A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeeps, said the company was working with the agency.


Meanwhile, the NHTSA has also opened an investigation into the Nissan Rogue after two complaints that the airbags on 2013 models deployed up to a minute after crashes and either inflated slowly or didn't fully inflate. The investigation covers about 195 000 vehicles. No injuries were reported from the airbag problem.

A Nissan spokesman said the airbags were not made by Japanese auto parts supplier Takata, which has had problems with airbags inflating with too much force and shooting shrapnel at the cars’ occupants.

Nissan was working with the NHTSA on the investigation, the spokesman said.