After refusing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's request for a recall, Chrysler said Tuesday it has resolved its differences and will fix 2.7 million older model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs at risk of a fuel tank fire during rear-end collisions which the government blames for at least 51 deaths.
“It was fairly unprecedented for Chrysler to step up and say hey, we're not going to do it,” says the Car Pro Jerry Reynolds. “The fact they relented and agreed to do it really doesn't surprise me because if you're an automaker NHTSA is not an agency you want on your bad side.”
“Toyota learned this lesson years ago when NHTSA fined them $15 million to make a believer out of them,” Reynolds tells KTRH News. “Today, Toyota is 'Johnny-on-the-spot' when it comes to recalls.”
Chrysler, a subsidiary of Italian automaker Fiat, still refuses to admit any defect in its vehicles, though it said dealers will inspect the vehicles and upgrade the rear structure if needed to better handle low-speed crashes.
However, Reynolds says Americans suffer from what he calls 'recall apathy' due to the inconvenience of having the work done. He adds most automakers do offer temporary transportation if needed.
“I'll promise you there will be a good percentage of people, I'll say 25-percent or more who will probably not get this procedure done,” he says.
The recall involves all 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles.