June 19, 2013

Jeep recall represents U-turn of sorts

In a reversal of its defiant posture, Chrysler agrees to fix fuel tanks on Grand Cherokees and Libertys.

The Associated Press

DETROIT - Chrysler abruptly agreed to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeeps on Tuesday, reversing a defiant posture and avoiding a possible public relations nightmare over fuel tanks that can catch fire in a rear-end collision.

click image to enlarge

Chrysler has agreed to recall 2.7 million older-model Grand Cherokees, like these outside a plant in Detroit, and Libertys to fix fuel tanks that could cause fires in rear-end crashes.

AP file photo

In deciding on the recall, Chrysler avoided a showdown with government safety regulators that could have led to public hearings with witnesses giving details of deadly crashes involving the Jeeps. The dispute ultimately could have landed in court and hurt both Chrysler's image and its finances.

Earlier this month, the company refused the government's request to recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007. The company said calls from concerned customers played a part in its reversing course.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that monitors vehicle safety, contends that the Jeep's gas tank can rupture if hit from the rear, causing a fire. NHTSA said a three-year investigation showed that 51 people had died in fiery crashes in Jeeps with gas tanks positioned behind the rear axle.

Two weeks ago, Chrysler said that the vehicles aren't defective, despite prior statements to the contrary from NHTSA. The company vouched for the vehicles safety again Tuesday.

 

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