Chrysler Backpedals, Agrees to Recall of Jeep SUVs


  • 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Picture

    2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Picture

    Chrysler has agreed to inspect 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys and to upgrade the vehicles' rear structure, if necessary, thus averting a showdown with federal safety regulators. | June 18, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Chrysler said it will conduct a "voluntary campaign" to check 2.7 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-'07 Jeep Liberty SUVs, ending a high-profile dispute with federal safety regulators.
  • Chrysler said it will visually inspect the SUVs and provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to "better manage crash forces at low-impact speeds."
  • "Chrysler obviously calculated the risks and benefits and concluded that the cost to repair these vehicles isn't as expensive as the potential long-term damage that could come from bad PR," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst.

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Chrysler said it will conduct a "voluntary campaign" to check 2.7 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-'07 Jeep Liberty SUVs, ending a high-profile dispute with federal safety regulators.

NHTSA says that the cars in question have too many deaths from fires when the Jeeps are struck from behind. Chrysler earlier had insisted there is no defect and that it would not recall the vehicles. But the company reversed its position on Tuesday, averting what appeared to be a looming court battle with the government. Federal safety regulators pushed for the recall after a lengthy probe into rear-end collisions in which at least 51 people died.

Even though Chrysler doesn't use the word "recall" in its statement, the action is, in effect, a vehicle recall and the company is expected to file formal recall paperwork with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We are pleased that Chrysler has agreed to take action to protect its customers and the driving public," said NHTSA in a statement. "Consumers impacted by the safety recall and customer satisfaction campaign should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Chrysler. In the meantime, we will continue our investigation into this issue, pending the agency's review of the documents provided by Chrysler in its recall action."

Chrysler said it will visually inspect the SUVs and provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to "better manage crash forces at low-impact speeds."

"Chrysler obviously calculated the risks and benefits and concluded that the cost to repair these vehicles isn't as expensive as the potential long-term damage that could come from bad PR," said Michelle Krebs, Edmunds senior analyst.

Edmunds data shows that approximately 1.9 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and 850,000 Libertys are involved in the recall.

Chrysler said in a statement released Tuesday that it has resolved its differences with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding a NHTSA request to recall the SUVs.

"Chrysler Group's analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group," the automaker said. "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."

Edmunds says: Chrysler's reversal should ease the concerns of many consumers.

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