Chrysler Group is recalling nearly half a million popular minivan and crossover models because the engines may unexpectedly turn off while driving, increasing the risk for a crash, according to a notice posted Thursday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Vehicles involved include 2010 Dodge Journey crossover utility vehicles, and Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivan models that were manufactured from Aug. 3, 2009 through June 17, 2010. In total, Chrysler is recalling 248,437 vehicles, according to the notice.

The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company said the problem is caused by ignition keys that may move from the "run" to the "accessory" position while driving, causing the engine to shut off and possibly leading to a crash.

Harsh roadway conditions can cause the key to move and result in the engine shutting down, Chrysler told NHTSA.

Chrysler, which began its investigation into the problem in September, said it has received 32 complaints and 465 warranty claims related to the defect. The company said it's aware of two rear-end crashes that have been attributed to the problem.

The safety recall is expected to begin next month, Chrysler said. Owners of affected vehicles can call the company at 800-853-1403.

This latest automotive industry recall follows two smaller actions taken by Ford Motor (F) on Wednesday. The twin recalls involve about 32,000 pickup trucks and utility vehicles that may catch fire because of fuel leaks or electrical shortages.

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