Skip to content

Chrysler Refuses Federal Request to Recall Some Jeep Models

June 4, 2013

Jeep refuses recall

By Leslie Spellman:: 5:43 PM

In an unprecedented action earlier today, Chrysler Motor Company  refused the federal government’s order to recall 2.7 million Jeep vehicles that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found to be dangerous in rear-end collisions.

The NHTSA has been investigating two Jeep models, the Grand Cherokee (1993 – 2004), and the Liberty (2002 – 2007), since August, 2010. The government agency says that the gas tanks in these vehicles are susceptible to heavy damage in a rear impact crash.

Data from the NHTSA shows 44 deaths in 32 rear-end crashes and fires in Grand Cherokees, and 7 deaths in five Liberty accidents.

Location of the fuel tank is an issue in these vehicles because it is not protected from the rear. It is located behind the rear axle, and the vehicles are high enough off of the roadway that impact to the tank is much easier compared to the location of gas tanks on other vehicles.

In a statement, Chrysler asserted the following: “Chrysler Group has found no evidence that the fuel systems in the subject vehicles are defective in either their design or manufacture.”

Where this heads at this point could be anyone’s guess. The government could head to the courts to force Chrysler to make a recall, or they could do nothing.

For Chrysler, a fix under recall would require re-engineering how the tank attaches to the underside of the SUVs, and perhaps relocating the tanks altogether, an expensive proposition for Chrysler. Another option, and probably more expensive, would be a vehicle buyback program.

An issue with a rear-end fuel tank mounting location is nothing new for automakers, or for the government. The most famous case of an unsafe gas tank involved Ford Pintos from the early 1970s. Ford recalled those vehicles in 1978.


Filed under → Automobile, Legal, Social Media