Jeep Gas Tank Fires: NHTSA’s Requests Recall, Chrysler Says No.
After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a thorough investigation into a series of rear-end collisions leading to the deaths of at least 44 people, it developed the belief that some Jeep vehicles are at serious risk for a fuel tank fire, and asked that Chrysler Group LLC recall 2.7 million Jeeps Grand Cherokees with the model years of 1993-2004
On June 4, Chrysler issued their reply, which was basically no thanks, adding that they stand behind the safety of their SUVs. According to the NHTSA’s tentative assessment, the culprit in the fires was the plastic gas tanks on the Grand Cherokees, which Chrysler designers had placed behind the vehicle axles, making them far more susceptible to puncture and fire whenever the vehicles are hit from behind.
Even though Chrysler designers moved the gas tank location to the other side of the axle in later models of the Grand Cherokee, they continue to claim the design was and is safe. In a statement released on June 4, the company said, “The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective. We believe NHTSA’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the agency to resolve this disagreement.”
Chrysler’s statement also noted that the Grand Cherokees in question met or exceeded federal standards for fuel-system integrity, although the NHTSA responded by reminding the company that minimum standards do not allow a company or the NHTSA to ignore problems that can cause serious injury or death.
It is quite unusual for a car maker to so openly challenge the NHTSA. The company faces having to defend itself in open hearings, which would likely include testimony from victims’ families.
You should be aware that, if you own one of these vehicles, there may be a potential problem with it. Whether or not Chrysler actually issues a recall, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Jeep gas tank fire following an accident involving Grand Cherokee or a Jeep Liberty, you should protect your rights, and contact the experienced Texas Automotive Defect Attorney at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible.