Chrysler Recalls 2.7 Million Grand Cherokees And Libertys Over Fiery Gas Tanks
Car company Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been at odds over the last two weeks after a study from the NHTSA looking at rear-end collisions and Jeeps found that a startling 51 individuals actually died after certain vehicles caught fire after getting involved in rear-end collisions. Early on in negotiations, Chrysler refused to see a problem with any of the company's vehicles, which include 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Libertys, but on Tuesday executives finally relented and opted to recall the older vehicles.
The NHTSA is reporting that the big problem with the Grand Cherokees and Libertys in question is a plastic gas tank that can be found behind the axle in those vehicles. Two weeks ago, officials went on record and stated that during rear-end collisions, the gas tanks have a tendency to be punctured, which can lead to fires and roadside deaths. It is important to note that other Jeep vehicles and newer versions of the offending parties in question have gas tanks in different locations and thus do not encounter the same issues.
After much communicating between the two parties, Chrysler made a statement on Tuesday via press release which shows the company is assenting and working with the government agency to fix the problem. You can read a portion of the admission below...
“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.”
According to the Detroit News, Chrysler says that dealers will offer visual inspections of the Libertys and Grand Cherokees in question and will also be putting together a “trailer hitch assembly” that should keep vehicles from having the rear-end accident problems in the future. Luckily, all versions of the two vehicles that already have a factory-standard hitch will not be affected by the recall and will not need the new device, though it's unclear what percentage of the at-risk vehicles may have gotten said upgrade.
Since the Libertys in question and (especially) the Grand Cherokees are actually fairly old vehicles, you wouldn’t think there would be all that many still putting around on the roadways. However, reports indicate that there are actually 2.7 million of the vehicles on the road, which means this is a big, potentially expensive recall for the auto company. Still, at the end of the day, Chrysler is calling the Jeep vehicles under scrutiny “among the safest in the peer group”, and the company is still disagreeing with the NHTSA findings. They do not the gas tank issue constitutes a formal defect. If you do drive any of the vehicles in question, it’s still probably a good idea to look into the hitch, however. It certainly can't hurt anything, and who knows, it might even help.
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