After multiple deaths, a three-year federal investigation and two weeks of negotiations, Chrysler has finally agreed to recall 2.7 million Jeeps. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys after receiving multiple reports of car fires in the event of rear-end collisions.
The recommended recall stated that the design of certain makes and models of Jeeps had a poorly positioned gas tank (behind the rear axle) that is more prone to ignite in the event of a rear-end collision. A three-year investigation showed that there have been 201 fire crashes and 285 deaths involving Grand Cherokees and 36 accidents leading to 53 deaths involving the Jeep Liberty.
The negotiations with Chrysler began about two weeks ago, and up until today, they refused to comply. The car manufacturer's compliance comes just hours before the deadline. If Chrysler would have continued to refuse, the NHTSA could have launched into hearings that could potentially force a recall.
Although there is a ten-year limit for auto recalls, Chrysler agreed to recall and provide "customer service actions" for some vehicles older than ten years. Many of the recalled vehicles will undergo installation or improvement of trailer hitches. According to Chrysler and the NHTSA, trailer hitches absorb some of the impact in the event of a rear-end collision which protects the gas tank.
Vehicles Included in the Recall
According to Chrysler, not all of the vehicles that NHTSA suggested for recalls are being recalled. The only vehicles affected are:
- About 1.2 million Grand Cherokees (1999-2004) are being called in for inspection only. Chrysler will evaluate these Jeeps for trailer hitches. Those not equipped with trailer hitches or adequate trailer hitches will receive factory ones.
- 1.6 million of the other vehicles are also being called in by Chrysler. 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys.
Vehicles Excluded from the Recall
Despite NHTSA suggestion, Chrysler is not issuing recalls of:
- About 1.1 million 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees.
Chrysler issued a statement back in June saying the NHTSA was incorrect in its assessment. Although these vehicles are not being recalled, they will still receive what the manufacturer is calling "customer service actions." Essentially, these customer service actions are treated the same way as recalls. The difference is primarily in name.
The agreement between Chrysler and the NHTSA also does not require Chrysler to label the recalled vehicles as "defective." This was to protect Chrysler from consumer product liability lawsuits. Owners of these vehicles will be notified by Chrysler. Once the notice of recall has been received, owners are encouraged to take their Jeeps in for servicing as soon as possible. If someone you love was injured or killed in this type of accident, you may still be able to take legal action. Contact Stern Law Group today!