Despite Earlier Objections, Chrysler Agrees to Recall 2.7 Million JeepsJun 19, 2013
Chrysler Group, despite prior and strong objections, has relented and agreed to recall 2.7 million Jeeps. This, just hours before a government deadline on the matter.
In a rare move last week, Chrysler defied a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall request involving the Jeep vehicles. Chrysler said its Jeeps were safe, challenging the NHTSA’s collision data analysis.
According to the regulator, rear-mounted gas tanks in 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles were found to be too vulnerable to leaks and could catch on fire in the event of a rear-end crash, according to a prior ABC News report. The NHTSA can call for a recall, but a court order is needed to enforce that demand.
Chrysler continues to maintain its vehicles are safe, according to CNN Money. Chrysler’s statement indicated that the car maker would recall the vehicles for inspection and, in "some cases," will "provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.” The company added that, "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."
The NHTSA also issued a statement indicating that it was pleased that "Chrysler has agreed to take action to protect its customers and the driving public” and that "consumers impacted by the safety recall and customer satisfaction campaign should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive notification from Chrysler." The agency said its investigation into the matter continues, according to CNN Money.
Had Chrysler not agreed to act by Tuesday’s deadline, it would likely have had to face high-profile public hearings, including testimony from car safety advocates and the parents of children who burned to death in fires. Clearly, noted CNN Money, citing experts it interviewed, the hearing would have harmed the car maker’s reputation, regardless of the outcome.
"It strikes me that Chrysler underestimated the negative publicity they'd get out of fighting, and that they decided it was better off to go ahead and do the recall," Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, told CNN Money. "It's still an uphill battle for Chrysler in the perception of quality and [a hearing] could [have] set it back."
Of note, an online survey conducted by Kelley Blue Book last week revealed that 64 percent of those responding to the survey said they would not consider purchasing or leasing a vehicle from an automaker who fights a recall, said CNN Money.
Chrysler is facing liability risks in a number of wrongful death lawsuits, according to CNN Money. In fact, the NHTSA says some 37 accidents caused fires that led to at least 51 fatalities.