Chrysler Reverses Position, Will Recall 2.7M Jeeps
Chrysler today agreed to recall 2.7 million older Jeep models over concerns about fires from fuel tanks that could leak following a rear-end collision.
The move averts a possible high-profile court showdown with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which had requested the manufacturer recall 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty models.
Following a three-year investigation, the agency sent a letter to Chrysler earlier this month requesting the recall, citing 32 rear-impact collisions that caused fatal fires resulting in 44 deaths in Grand Cherokees, and five accidents that resulted in seven deaths in Jeep Libertys.
Those models have gas tanks located behind the rear axle; the Jeeps have since been redesigned and the tanks are now placed ahead of the axle.
Chrysler initially resisted the regulatory agency’s request, saying that it would not recall the vehicles because its research showed that they were safe.
In a statement issued today, Chrysler acknowledged that “this matter has raised concerns for its customers” and it decided “to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles.”
“As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.”
The company has not specified a timetable for the inspections or what form of upgrade would be involved.