Chrysler made big news earlier in the month by refusing a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty. Last week, NHTSA boss David Strickland countered by defending his agency's request for the recall of 2.7 million Jeep SUVs. Today marked the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to NHTSA, and it seems that both parties have met in the middle with Chrysler inspecting and upgrading some of the affected vehicles without using the word "recall," which would constitute the admission of a defect; instead, Chrysler said that it is conducting a "voluntary campaign."

At issue on these vehicles is the positioning of the fuel tank behind the rear axle that could get damaged during a rear-end collision. NHTSA has stated that at least 51 people have been killed in rear-end collisions involving these Jeeps after the vehicles caught fire, to which Chrysler countered by pointing out that both models "met and exceeded" the requirements for fuel-system integrity.

As a compromise on the situation, Chrysler says that it will inspect all pre-2004 Grand Cherokees and pre-2007 Liberty models and, "if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle." According to Automotive News, this upgrade will consist of adding a trailer hitch that will presumably better protect the rear-mounted gas tank. Vehicles already equipped with a factory or Mopar hitch will not be modified. Chrysler's official statement on the matter is posted below, but no additional information has been released, such as when the campaign will begin and how many vehicles could be affected.
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Chrysler Group and NHTSA Resolve Recall Request
Auburn Hills, Mich. , Jun 18, 2013 - Chrysler Group LLC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resolved their differences with respect to NHTSA's request to recall 1993-2004 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty vehicles.

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.

Chrysler Group's analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group. Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles.

Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families.


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  • 59 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      09GT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Our 01 Cherokee (not Grand) was rear-ended at a stoplight a few years ago by an inattentive teenager in an older Volvo (850 I think by my wife\'s description - she was driving with the kids). The front of the Volvo was a mess, but the Cherokee, with an aftermarket trailer hitch, had not a scratch - except on the hitch. It protected the rear gas tank (in the same position as in the Grand Cherokee) well - of course it helped that the inattentive driver did have time to hit her brakes for some nose-dive (however, our Cherokee isn\'t lifted so the hitch is fairly close to the ground). Cherokee still going strong today. I disagreee with the premise of the recall - if the cars met the standards when they were built they shouldn\'t retroactively have to meet more stringent standards. They were/are popular trucks, so of course there will be more incidents than other makes.
        Kevin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @09GT
        I was also rear-ended in my 97 Cherokee by a Camry, it was undriveable and I had about a 12" scratch on the bumper. This entire situation is absurd.
      Cayman
      • 1 Year Ago
      So now a manufacturer must meet all possible safety requirements that may exist in the future???
      Michael
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really want to buy a used jeep now without a hitch. Then I know it hasn't been abused by towing at least, plus I get a free hitch! I even need a tow vehicle. Maybe the stars have aligned for me.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice choice of words there.... Inspect and replace as "necessary". Why did we bail them out again?
        car-a-holic
        • 1 Year Ago
        @over9000
        its way beyond you..... so dont stress about such intricacies of life.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @over9000
        Just down vote and move on. He never has anything correct or entertaining to say.
      Joanne Dochev
      • 1 Year Ago
      I won't be buying from a company that considers 50 deaths 'OK' as it has met regulatory standards. I expect a higher commitment to safety. You know Chrysler's argument wouldn't have been accepted if it was a german marque.
        mkbruin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joanne Dochev
        Well, have fun in your Ford cvpi. That's the only vehicle even remotely engineered to be rear ended at a standstill by a vehicle traveling at highway speeds. Oh, wait, those caught fire in that scenario too. Can I ask a question? Do you believe in Audi sudden acceleration, Suzuki samurai rollovers, gm side saddle explosions, Explorer rollovers, toyota sudden acceleration, and Santa Claus too?
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mkbruin
          Audi = no. Suzuki = Yes. GM tanks = Jury is out. Many did actually catch fire. Explorer = No, although is was an amateur move to deflate tires. Toyota = Yes. Had it personally happen. Santa = Sure, its OK to start your kids off with lies, right?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joanne Dochev
        [blocked]
      1guyin10
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chrysler was absolutely in the right to challenge the recall, but they had to bow to public perception.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Luckily most of those 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee are already in the junk yard.
        Suzq044
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        You'd be surprised then. Many Jeep owners love their Jeeps. :)
          The_Zachalope
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Suzq044
          The Jeep love is not lost on me. But in the Rust Belt, those ZJ's went back to earth rather quickly. It's surprising since there are still plenty of very clean YJ's and TJ's running around.
      car-a-holic
      • 1 Year Ago
      i would have stood my ground, CHRYCO. You do not need to recall 20 year old cars that were found satisfactory and safe 20 years ago. Where does this BS stop??? Lets recall every old car on the road for everything while we are at this madness. How about we recall the dysfunctional politicians who appointed these NHTSA turds......
        msspamrefuge
        • 1 Year Ago
        @car-a-holic
        "Lets recall every old car on the road for everything while we are at this madness." Sweet! Side airbags for my '96 ES 300, here I come!
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @car-a-holic
        Using your logic, NO car would ever have to be recalled because all cars sold in the US have passed all contemporary safety regulations. Clearly that is not a logical position to take. Sometimes there are unforeseen design defects which makes a car unsafe. For example- fuel hoses coming off in Fords which could cause fires. Do you think Ford should just ignore it because all their cars had passed safety regulations?
          NastyKnate
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          a fuel hose coming off is a defect. valid recall. something like this is NOT a defect as it is the same as it was when it passed those tests. its a huuuuge difference
        Henry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @car-a-holic
        The difference is owners of their vehicles complained. Ever thought about that?
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      At least Chrysler decided to follow through with the recall in the end, even if it was a little late. Some companies, like Hyundai, choose to ignore recalls outwright.
      mkbruin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Awesome!!! Free hitches for me! on a related note, I honestly fear for our species if people really believe this is a legitimate issue. Its almost as if idiocracy was a documentary.
        wilkegm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mkbruin
        Idiocracy definitely belongs on a list of prophetic movies, just like Wag the Dog or 1984
      Cory Stansbury
      • 1 Year Ago
      Free trailer hitch sounds like a nice upgrade.
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