It's Deadline Day for Chrysler in Showdown With Government


  • 2007 Jeep Liberty Picture

    2007 Jeep Liberty Picture

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Chrysler a deadline of June 18 to formally respond to a request for the recall of 2.7 million vehicles, including the 2002-'07 Jeep Liberty. | June 18, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Today is the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to NHTSA's request for the recall of 2.7 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-'07 Jeep Liberty SUVs.
  • Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Edmunds on Tuesday night that the automaker had no new statement to make regarding the dispute.
  • Chrysler could invoke the 10-year statute of limitations on recalls.

WASHINGTON — Today is the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's request for the recall of 2.7 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-'07 Jeep Liberty SUVs.

Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Edmunds on Tuesday night that the automaker had no new statement to make regarding the dispute.

NHTSA says that the cars in question have too many deaths from fires when the Jeeps are struck from behind. Chrysler insists there is no defect and will not recall the vehicles.

Chrysler could invoke the 10-year statute of limitations on recalls.

According to federal rules, there is a limitation on recalls based on the age of the vehicle.

"In order to be eligible for a free remedy, the vehicle cannot be more than 10 years old on the date the defect or noncompliance is determined," according to NHTSA's explanation of the recall process. "Under the law, the age of the vehicle is calculated from the date of sale to the first purchaser. For example, if a defect is found in 2003 and a recall ordered, manufacturers are required to make the correction available at no charge only for vehicles purchased new in 1994 through 2003.

"However, consumers should realize that even though manufacturers are not obligated to remedy safety defects in older cars, a safety problem might still exist."

At that point, NHTSA is telling consumers to "take the responsibility to have your car repaired at your own expense — and eliminate unnecessary safety risks."

If Chrysler formally refuses the recall today, it kicks off a process that could result in NHTSA asking the U.S. Justice Department to sue the automaker.

As NHTSA points out on its Web site, "there is no obligation for the manufacturer to remedy the defect while the case is in court."

But it advises consumers "if you decide to have your vehicle remedied at your own expense while the case is pending and the court upholds NHTSA's final decision, you may be entitled to reimbursement."

The feds advise consumers to save all receipts and paperwork so they can prove repairs were made. But be aware that federal law does not require a manufacturer to reimburse consumers for repair work if a court ultimately rules that the defect is not safety related.

Edmunds says: The deadline doesn't end until midnight, so the wait continues.

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