Faced the with prospect of a federal lawsuit, Chrysler has given in to a demand from auto safety officials and agreed to a recall on more than 2.7 million Jeep vehicles.
According to a CNN Money report, Chrysler waited until the 11th hour to finally agree to the recall that was originally ordered by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The action includes Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty sports-utility vehicles (SUVs) that federal officials said were prone to burst into flames in a rear-end collision.
The risk was present because the fuel tank is both too low to the ground and behind the rear axle. In a rear impact, according to safety studies used by the NHTSA to order the recall, another vehicle can lodge underneath the Jeep, hit the axle, and rupture the fuel tank. When the fuel splashes out, it can catch fire and pose injury and death risks to motorists in each vehicle, according to CNN and other reports.
The NHTSA expressed satisfaction with Chrysler’s eventual response to its order, even though the agency was prepared to file a lawsuit against the company to force the recall whether the auto maker agreed or not. In a statement, the NHTSA said, “Chrysler has agreed to take action to protect its customers and the driving public. Consumers impacted by the safety recall and customer satisfaction campaign should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Chrysler.”
Chrysler Responsible For Repairing Millions of Cars
As part of the recall, Chrysler will be responsible for fixing at least 1.7 million of the 2.7 million vehicles included. And the company has avoided completely reconfiguring the underbelly of these vehicles to adjust the location of the suspect fuel tank. Instead, Chrysler has agreed to place a trailer hitch on the back of select Jeep vehicles covered by the recall. Only Jeep vehicles included in the recall with a trailer hitch option will be fixed. This leaves about a million Jeep vehicles unable to be fixed, according to CNN.
For those owners with a Jeep in this recall, they should take the vehicle to a dealer. Upon inspection, if a Jeep has an aftermarket hitch, Chrysler will replace it with one of their own. For Jeep vehicles with a hitch option, Chrysler will install one. This allegedly will reduce the possibility of another colliding vehicle hitting the fuel tank. The hitch is designed to absorb the initial impact of the crash, according to CNN.
One auto safety advocacy group told CNN that it believes this recall will eventually cost Chrysler about $300 million but the cost could have been much higher if it had been forced to repair all 2.7 million vehicles or do more than install a hitch.