Chrysler Refuses a Recall on Faulty Jeeps | Auto Accidents | Wrongful Death
The Chrysler Group LLC, which is majority-owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA, is making headlines lately and it’s not for positive reasons. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent Chrysler a letter asking for a voluntary recall of Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993-2004 and Jeep Liberties from 2002-2007, citing “risk of a fuel tank fire in a rear-end collision” as the justification. David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, explains, “Our data shows that these vehicles may contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.”
But Chrysler refuses to budge at this point releasing the statement that they “do not intend to recall the vehicles.” The government estimates that the recall would cost 2.7 million. Refusals to recall are rare, but the NHTSA can force one with a court order.
According to the NHTSA investigation in August 2010, the placement of the fuel tanks behind the rear axle is a design defect as it can cause fires if there is an ignition source in a rear-end crash. Usually, automakers agree to recalls to avoid bad press. Chrysler has conducted 52 recalls in the last 3 years alone.
NHTSA found at least 32 rear impact crashes and resulting fires in Grand Cherokees that caused 44 deaths, and 7 deaths resulting from 5 rear crashes in the Liberty model. The fatal crash rates in these models are almost double of comparable models such as the Chevy S10 Blazer, Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner, Isuzu Rodeo, Isuzu Trooper, Mitsubishi Montero, Suzuki Sidekick and Suzuki XL-7.
With this dispute in limbo, owners of the affected Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models are awaiting word on government and/or court action.