Chrysler Refuses U.S. Request to Recall 2.7 Million Jeeps

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
A defiant Chrysler is refusing a government request to recall about 2.7 million SUVs to fix fuel tanks that could leak and cause fires in rear-end collisions.

Chrysler said Tuesday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked in a letter that the company recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007.

Such a refusal by an auto company is rare. It was unclear how NHTSA would respond. Messages were left for an agency spokeswoman.

"The company does not agree with NHTSA's conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles," Chrysler said in a statement Tuesday. "The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective."

Chrysler maintains that NHTSA's conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of data. The refusal may be a negotiating tactic. Chrysler also said in the statement that it will work with NHTSA to resolve the dispute.

NHTSA opened an investigation into the SUVs in August 2010 at the request of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. The group contends that the SUVs' gas tanks are positioned below the rear bumper and behind the rear axle, making them susceptible to rupture and spill gasoline in a rear-end crash. In a rollover crash, a lack of proper shielding for the plastic tank could cause it to puncture, the group said.

Clarence Ditlow, the center's director, called the gas tank a "terrible design." He has repeatedly sent letters to the company seeking a recall.

Chrysler said its own analysis shows that there are fewer than one fire incident for every million years of vehicle operation.

"The rate is similar to comparable vehicles produced and sold during the time in question," the company said in the statement.

When the investigation was announced three years ago, NHTSA said it had found 44 Grand Cherokee crashes and 55 deaths since 1992 where fire was listed as the most harmful factor. Of those figures, 10 crashes and 13 deaths were most likely associated with rear-end crashes, the safety agency reported.

NHTSA also said at the time that an initial review of crash data submitted by auto manufacturers showed that the Grand Cherokee did not have significantly more fires after crashes than other vehicles.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

80 Comments

Filter by:
Jensen Mott

I can see both sides to their tactic of not recalling the cars. It's easy to see that the cars are quite safe, or possibly that the people that tend to buy them are safe drivers, because they have had very few fatal car accidents in the Jeep model in 21 years. I also think that it's a little bit unnerving for anyone driving these cars to know that the fuel tank might be in a place where it could explode from a rear collision. It's difficult to tell what should be done in this situation, but I bet they'll figure it out.
Jensen | http://www.verhageautosales.com/pages.aspx?s=4734

February 27 2014 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gerrie

this should be taken care of...anyone in this chat had a family die from this problem would sue...just saying...and you all know it!

June 05 2013 at 9:26 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Gerrie

even one as a result of the positioning of a gas tank that can result in a explosion is too many...

June 05 2013 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gerrie's comment
teapotparty11

Too bad, not gonna happen. Recalls cost money, which cost profits to shareholders which is all that matters. If you have one, just sell it to some other sucker or fix it yourself!

June 05 2013 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gerrie

if i were chrysler i would recall....

June 05 2013 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joethightwad

Interesting that the vehicles identified in the recall were manufactured between 1993 and 2007 and the problem associated with them had been ignored for almost as long. Following the economic crash of 2007, Chrysler received loans from the government and Canada in exchange for stock to stave off bankruptcy, but to no avail. The company went under. Following reorganization it bought back the government owned stock at a net loss to the US of $1.7 billion and, in the process, became a majority owned subsidiary of Fiat. Now that Chrysler is foreign owned, it appears fair game to push the defect issue.

June 05 2013 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
restasured

Wow 44 crashes and 55 deaths from crashes in a Grand Cherokee. IN 21 YEARS. Now that is a tremendous statistic. These people need to get a real job. There have been more deaths than that in 20 years from choking while eating steak.

June 05 2013 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jerry

Maybe Chrysler is get tired of being over regulated and tired of being controled by so many government regulations just like most people in the USA,, I hope Chrysler tell the to go to h@ll.

June 05 2013 at 8:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jerry's comment
Gerrie

unless its your family tht gets rear ended and die!

June 05 2013 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jerry

Sounds like the NHTSA better put their head back up their a$$ where the sun dont shine again.
if you ask me they have a pretty good record, so go f-yourself.

June 05 2013 at 8:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
slowhanddean

Why did they even write this article? Too much information was omitted. No info on what type of crash or the type of other vehicle involved in the crashes. there goes another 5 minutes of my life wasted. Maybe I should sue !

June 05 2013 at 4:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toosmart4u

We have lost our pride in our country. Complaining about our national debt, everytime you purchase anything foreign our monies goes to that country. The asian auto companies who came to America to produce their vehicles also brought their parts suppliers. So they are taking thousands of dollars for each vehicle. Toyota exports 1 vehicle they import 120.

June 05 2013 at 3:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply