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Chrysler refuses 2.7M car recall

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Friday, June 7, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

Chrysler has refused a request by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall about 2.7 million Jeep models, saying they are confident the cars are safe. It is very rare for an automaker to refuse to recall cars when requested by the government agency.

The focus of the recall request are 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models. The NHTSA feels that the gas tank design is unsafe and could cause the cars to catch on fire in a rear-end collision.

Chrysler said in a statement that it believes the agency's conclusions are based on an "incomplete analysis of underlying data." Furthermore, Chrysler says the design of the gas tank, which is located behind the rear axle, is common in many other cars, and many other fatal crashes of the cars in question involved very high-speed collisions that would have had the same outcome even with a different design.

Chrysler has been providing data to the NHTSA since September 2010. The agency began investigating the Jeep models at the request of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer group that monitors accident data and takes consumer complaints. The center also recently requested that the NHTSA issue a recall of the cars, saying it had contacted the CEOs of Chrysler and its parent company, Fiat, five times to recall the Jeeps but received no response.

NHTSA can only require Chrysler to repair a small percentage of the affected vehicles, since the recall laws only require cars to be repaired free of charge if they are less than 10 years old. That would include cars that are 2003 models or newer for current recalls. The matter will likely be taken up in U.S. District Court if Chrysler doesn't reverse its decision on the recall request.

Do you own one of the cars that could be recalled?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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Stanley walker
March 04, 2014 at 6:13 pm

i have 2008 patriot sport 4 4 seat parts breaking speed sensors going three some far boot in front axle going out abs sensors what next next of this stuff chrysler fix these problems!! front wheel drive acting up brake problems!! i could tell you lots more !!

Lauren Sims
July 06, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Why is it they keep building the same ineffective and unreliable product? Just to keep an inventory of parts from year to year? Jeep is known for the same problems year after year, b/c they don't have to build them well or reliable b/c people keep buying them. Air conditioning doesn't work, oil leaks, electrical problems and now they catch on fire- what the hell? And Chrysler wants more data analysis. Typical- again, the numbers and bottom-line are all that is important. We called a dealership about the 1996 Grand Cherokee my son just bought and they didn't mention anything about the recall or a need for a tow hitch, etc.