Jeep Grand Cherokees produced before 2005 have a potent... Jeep Grand Cherokees produced before 2005 have a potentially deadly design flaw (YouTube).
The Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group, is calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall up to 2.2 million Jeep Grand Cherokees sold between 1993 through 2004 because of what it claims is a gas tank design that makes the SUV much more prone to lethal fires in rear-end collisions.

The call for recall does not include Grand Cherokees made after 2004 because of a redesign that addressed the gas-tank issue. Specifically, when the popular SUV was overhauled, the gas tank was moved from the position between the rear axle and the rear bumper to a spot in front of the rear axle and shielded it.

From an engineering standpoint, all modern cars and SUVs place the gas tank in front of the rear axle. In the event of a rear collision, the heavy steel axle serves as an important buffer to keep the gas tank from rupturing and potentially causing a fire. In many accidents involving a ruptured gas tank pieces of metal drag on pavement as the vehicle is pushed across the road, causing sparks, which tend to ignite leaking gasoline.

"For the Center for Auto Safety, this is the most dangerous vehicle on the road today and we want it recalled," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the advocacy organization.

The Center says that at least 55 people have died in crashes where fire was "the most harmful factor."

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is investigating the vehicle's safety, declined to comment on the Center's crash test.


Chrysler disputes the Center for Auto Safety's test results. The company claims the Center's test was "three times as severe" as the government standard, and that the old Grand Cherokee design meets or exceeds federal standards. A company spokesman added that rear impacts resulting in a fire are rare, and do not occur at a greater rate than they do for other SUVs.

It is not the first time the Center for Auto Safety has gone after car companies over models with similar gas tank designs. In the 1970s, the Center investigated the Ford Pinto for the same design. And more recently, the group went after the Ford Crown Victoria, which for many years has been the vehicle of choice for police departments and taxi fleets.

There have been numerous lawsuits over all three of these vehicles.

Jeep is a brand of Chrysler LLC, which also markets Chrysler and Dodge brand vehicles. At the time the vehicles were made, the company was independently owned, or part of the DaimlerChrysler Corp. Chrysler's German owner redesigned the Grand Cherokee to move the gas tank to the preferred location in the vehicle, a move the Center for Auto Safety says shows that engineers knew it was a problem that needed correcting.

Legally, however, a company does not admit that a previous design was flawed just because it makes changes or improvements. If that were the case, companies would never change their designs.

Today, Chrysler is controlled by Italian auto company Fiat, which is in process of buying out the U.S. government stake in the automaker that occurred in 2009 when the U.S. Treasury helped keep Chrysler afloat with loans and an equity position. Chrysler went through bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

Fiat-controlled Chrysler is liable today for damages awarded by courts involving accidents with vehicles that were built on or before June 10, 2009, when the ownership transfer took place.


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  • 391 Comments
      peppe825
      • 3 Years Ago
      Jeep Grand cherokee with the inline 6 cylinder is a great suv and very reliable.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My daughter turned 16 last month and there was just no way we could afford to add her to our existing insurance policy. I started shopping around for new car insurance and found this site: ( http://tinyurl.com/InsuranceTip ) I just put in my ZIP code and received four quotes instantly after filling out your form. By comparing rates we were actually able to include my daughter in our new policy and not pay anymore per month for car insurance than we were originally paying for just me and my wife!
      Annika
      • 3 Years Ago
      The recall adresses cars that were built 18 years ago. How many of them are even still on the road? If the position of the gas tank really had been a huge safety issue we should have heard of a large number of Jeep Cherokees that burned after a rear-end collision, but we haven't.
        john
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Annika
        This is a jeep we are talking about not just some chevrolet product it actually keeps running for 3-400k miles. While we are on the subject I have a 1997 Volvo that only has 124k miles on it and its 13 years old, it runs like a top 95% of the time also if there were a bunch of these jeeps sold in cities to soccer moms that only drove 2-3 blocks to the school 5 blocks around the corner to the park and back home they wouldnt put many miles on their jeep.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Annika
        mine is @118K & hope I'm not driving a death trap :(
      • 3 Years Ago
      wow... where can I sign up to get one of thes bs jobs that results in more out of pocket costs for the consumers in this country? I only think I could sleep better knowing I just made everyone have to spend more on purchasing an auto or having to get repairs made, and even spending more on fuel. COME ON PEOPLE ... ACCIDENTS ARE JUST THAT! They all could be avoided but stuff just happens. STOP WHINING AND DO MORE RESEARCH TO STOP BIG OIL FROM RAPING US BLIND(no offense to blind people), HOW MANY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS DO THEY ACTUALY HAVE TO PROFIT FROM US BEFORE WE WAKE UP??????
      veasystreet
      • 3 Years Ago
      Check back at this stie every half hour to see the logic some people try to use in defending Chrysler. Basically what they are saying is it better to die in a Chrysler bonfire than it is to die in a Toyota crash. Welcome to hypocrite heaven. There should be new posts coming on all the time. Sit back and enjoy watching people try to justify its OK for Chrysler to go on killing people and not fix the gas tanks.
      ohslimgoody
      • 3 Years Ago
      WOW!
      emil424
      • 3 Years Ago
      1993 to 2004 that means generation 1 and 2. I had both of them and skipped Gen 3. I did think the gas tank for gen 2 was really exposed being too close to the rear bumper and low (the spare tire was moved to the inside floor) but the car in the crash that blew out all the gas in the video was a gen 1. We did have a minor rear end acident with our Gen 2 grand Cherokee and the gas tank did take a hit, marking it up a bit but nothing worth replacing. Gen 1 and Gen 2 have little to do with each other and I dont know how you can have a recall on two different designs. I agree with a good deal of the posters that 55 out of 2.2 million is really rare and overall these have been great SUVs. Hit any car hard enough in the rear and something is bound to happen.
      longeye
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's intersting! I've thought when driving behind the older Grand Cherokees that it seemed odd to look right at the gas tank of a modern car. Most manufactuers moved the fuel tanks forward under the center of the vehicle 20 to 30 years ago. Not good news for Fiat, they may have to pay for the class action lawsuit that will probably be filed against Chrysler.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just remember two other cars from the past with similar issues. One was the BMW 320 from the 30ties with tank placed under the hood, straight above the engine, the other was soviet's "Zaporozec" - a beetle with rear engine ant the tank placed inside salon, right behind the rear seats. Life is manifold after all!
      RALPH LANDRESS
      • 3 Years Ago
      I GOT RID OF AN OLD CHEVY TRUCK WITH THE GAS TANK BEHIND THE DRIVERS SEAT. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A BARGAIN WHEN I BOUGHT IT. I THINK I SOLD IT FOR $200.00. I STARTED THINKING ABOUT SITTING THAT CLOSE TO A FIRE BOMB AND THAT WAS BACK WHEN I COULD FILL UP A BIG GAS TANK AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE PRICEOF GAS, BUT I NEVER FILLED IT BUT 1/2 FULL BECAUSE THE FILLER NECK HAD BEEN DAMAGED AND THE GAS CAP DID NOT SEAL GOOD. IN REALITY, THAT CHEVY MAY HAVE BEEN WORSE THAN A PINTO.
        ekseem
        • 3 Years Ago
        @RALPH LANDRESS
        OLD FORDS IN THE TWNETIES AND THIRTIES HAD GAS TANKS IN THE DASHBOARD, IMAGINE A LAP FULL OF GAS FROM A DAMAGED TANK!
      • 3 Years Ago
      My daughter turned 16 last month and there was just no way we could afford to add her to our existing insurance policy. I started shopping around for new car insurance and found this site: ( http://tinyurl.com/InsuranceTip ) I just put in my ZIP code and received four quotes instantly after filling out your form. By comparing rates we were actually able to include my daughter in our new policy and not pay anymore per month for car insurance than we were originally paying for just me and my wife!
      • 3 Years Ago
      My daughter turned 16 last month and there was just no way we could afford to add her to our existing insurance policy. I started shopping around for new car insurance and found this site: ( http://tinyurl.com/InsuranceTip ) I just put in my ZIP code and received four quotes instantly after filling out your form. By comparing rates we were actually able to include my daughter in our new policy and not pay anymore per month for car insurance than we were originally paying for just me and my wife!
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