For the past few years, Chrysler and its CEO, Sergio Marchionne, have gone head-to-head with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its boss, David Strickland, over the government safety agency's request for Chrysler to recall almost three-million Jeep vehicles due to what NHTSA says is a safety issue that has caused at least 51 deaths. After a three-year investigation and Chrysler's initial refusal to issue a recall because it deemed the vehicles safe and built to the day's federal requirements, last summer, the two parties compromised on a "voluntary campaign" to inspect 1.56 million vehicles, those being the 1992 to 1998 Grand Cherokee and 2002 to 2007 Liberty.

Those vehicles were designed with their gas tanks between the rear axle and the bumper, and NHTSA says that in rear-end collisions, damage to the fuel tank has caused fires responsible for those 51 deaths. The compromise reached last summer was that Chrysler would inspect 1.56 million vehicles and, "if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle." Practically speaking, that meant Chrysler would replace aftermarket trailer hitches, but would take no action if a vehicle had a factory-installed hitch or an aftermarket hitch from Mopar.

A report in The Detroit News says the "voluntary campaign" is just now getting under way, with Chrysler saying last week that the design of the replacement part had been finalized and it was tooling up "to deliver the required volume." Seven months later, still in question is whether NHTSA will crash-test the fix engineered by Chrysler, noteworthy because not only did the vehicles in question pass every safety standard necessary to be cleared for sale at the time, there are still questions (to those of us on the outside) as to how the Jeeps at issue fare among their peers in such incidents. Either way, Chrysler and NHTSA apparently still disagree on the efficacy of the remedy itself: the carmaker says it might help in low-speed crashes but not high-speed collisions, a position the NHTSA is at odds with. All of this means the campaign doesn't yet have an end in sight.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      bwjanak78
      • 1 Year Ago
      Extreme waste of time and money. The vehicle met crash standards at the time.
      Deneway
      • 1 Year Ago
      NHTSA drove itself into a corner and can't find reverse gear. Stick to your guns Chrysler.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just got my recall notice last week, but it says they don't have them in stock. I don't really agree with this happening, but won't pass up on a free hitch either.
      rict
      • 1 Year Ago
      Notwithstanding Chrysler's argument that there is no design flaw, there is no defense of the inability for yet another useless federal agency to enforce it's mission. A recall was stipulated, the OEM agreed to a problem mitigation, the agency approved and now 6 months later, there has been no action. This in itself should result in NHTSA officials being be hauled in front of a congressional inquiry and held accountable for their lack of performance. Just like at the VA, the NSA, the State Department and others that are not yet revealed, there are people at the top who need to be held accountable. There are high level career managers who should lose their jobs. It's time to clean house in Washington, TOP to BOTTOM and LEFT to RIGHT. The US Government is abjectly broken because 1) there is too much of it, 2) politics without accountability is the rule, 3) legislators have a right to hold lifetime office so long as they can be re-elected mostly on irrelevant campaign rhetoric and mudslinging, 4) there is a revolving door between government agencies and industry, and 5) because the bribe money that has been injected into the legislative and enforcement process has corrupted the system.
      Paco
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nearly all the Jeeps produced between 1984 and 2006 have the gas tank between the rear bumper and rear axle. Including: Cherokee, Wrangler, Liberty and Grand Cherokee. Imagine if they were all recalled...
        Paco
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paco
        Same goes for the CJ's from 1974 and up. Before that they were under the seat.
      dodado2006
      • 1 Year Ago
      What about our cherokee sports and cherokees cause there in the same spot to
      PiCASSO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chrysler's Ford Pinto?
      lostboyz
      • 1 Year Ago
      So are they going to start testing all old cars to new crash standards?
      tbird635
      • 1 Year Ago
      Far more dangerous than the Pinto . The Pinto had 27 deaths over a 10 year, 3.1 million unit production run. Jeep's at 51 deaths over a shorter time period and a lot fewer units.
        1guyin10
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tbird635
        That is not the best measure. Pintos lasted a few years and maybe 70,000 miles before being scrapped. Many of these Jeeps are 20 years old and have a quarter million or more miles on them. Deaths per mile driven is far lower in the Jeeps.
      Steve K
      • 1 Year Ago
      So what, if the blood ******* lawyers and the psychopathic gov bureaucrats all get their way are we going to start testing every old car to the newest safety standards? 51 deaths? The U.S. gov has killed over 500 innocent children around the world, first responders to make a point "don't help", and countless other innocent "collateral damage" murders (what a nice name for an innocent bystander you just blew to bits and then wonder why the rest of his family wants to come here and kill us) in drone strikes in just the past 10 years. Maybe they should stop murdering children first before they go and try to clean other people's homes?
      BOB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let's put Sergio in one of these vehicles and then ram it in the ass end to see if we can bbq him.
      DrSandman
      • 1 Year Ago
      Funny, I got my recall note yesterday. I already had a MOPAR hitch installed, so I sent it back and asked for reimbursement.
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