After refusing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recommendation to recall 2.7 million Jeeps, Chrysler Group finally agreed to the recall just before the government deadline. Chrysler argued that the 2.7 million Jeeps in question followed safety standards and should not have to be recalled. The NHTSA disagreed. If Chrysler had not agreed to the terms, it could have resulted in public hearings and an involuntary recall that could result in a federal court case. The last time an automaker won a challenge against the NHTSA in a recall matter was 17 years ago.
According to the NHTSA, the Jeeps recalled put passengers in danger due to plastic gas tanks located in the rear of the vehicle that pose a risk of catching the Jeep on fire. At least 37 accidents including fires have been reported, involving the death of at least 51 people. In accordance to the agreement, Chrysler will only have to repair a certain number of the vehicles. Chrysler will inspect around 1.2 million 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees and if they have a hitch that is not a factory installed one, it will be replaced with a Chrysler model hitch in an effort to provide protection from rear-end collisions. Chrysler will also inspect 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys.
Even though statistics have not shown any difference in the interest in purchasing the recalled vehicles, a survey found that 64% of people would not consider buying a vehicle from an automaker that refused a recall. Chrysler avoided a public hearing that could have possibly harmed its reputation by giving into the NHTSA’s demands. However, according to the incident reports, Chrysler could still face liability risks in wrongful death suits, including cases of parents whose children had burned to death in Jeep fires.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to a defective product, a product liability attorney may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. For more information, call 1-888-BURNETTI or fill out a free case evaluation form here.