Just this past Tuesday, Chrysler announced that it was refusing to recall 2.7 million Jeep models that, according to the government and other safety groups, are defective and pose a fire risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contends that the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models are prone to fires in the event of a rear-impact collision. While massive recalls have become more and more common, it is truly a rare event for an auto manufacturer to refuse a recall request from the governmental agency that regulates vehicle safety.
According to Chrysler, it does not agree that the vehicles are unsafe. While Chrysler acknowledges that there have been fires stemming from rear-end collisions involving these particular models, it contends that these instances were rare and unrelated to any defect in the vehicles’ design. The NHTSA has cited to 32 rear-end collisions that resulted in fatal fires leading to 44 deaths in Jeep Grand Cherokees and 5 collisions with 7 deaths in Jeep Liberty models. For the past three years, the NHTSA has investigated whether the location and placement of the fuel tanks in the affected models made them susceptible to gas leaks and fires during a rear-end collision. Based on the findings of the investigation, the NHTSA recommended that Chrysler immediately recall the affected vehicles.
The governmental investigation was instigated at the request of the Center for Auto Safety, a private advocacy group. The center has conducted its own analysis of the vehicles and concluded that Jeep Grand Cherokees were far more likely than similar models to be involved in fire-related incidents. The center has asked Chrysler for a broad recall and has accused the nation’s third largest auto manufacturer of putting “profits over safety.” According to the center, “The refusal to recall these rolling firebombs is an insult to its customers that ride at risk every day.”
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a defective automobile or defective product, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 713-222-7211.