NHTSA Urges Jeep to Carry Out Recall on Liberty and Grand Cherokee
Only Three Percent of Recalled Vehicles Repaired
According to Automotive News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn’t satisfied with the speed at which Chrysler is carrying out its recall of 1992-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys.
David Friedman, deputy director for the NHTSA, told reporters that he recently sent a letter to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, urging the company to carry out recall repairs more quickly.
“They have to make sure they're getting those parts in the hands of consumers," Friedman said. It's not the first time the regulatory body has taken issue with the way Chrysler and Jeep are handling the recall.
The recall covers about 1.5 million vehicles for a fire risk in low to moderate speed rear-end collisions. The placement of the fuel tank makes a tank rupture possible in those types of collisions, and the company plans to reduce that risk by installing trailer hitches on the SUVs.
However, since the recall was announced in June 2013, only three percent of affected vehicles have been repaired. The company initially estimated that it could finish the recall by 2018, then later upgraded that estimate to March 2015. Given that so few vehicles have been repaired, we’d say that March estimate is a bit optimistic.
The recall was brought to the public’s attention again last week after a pregnant Michigan woman died of burns and smoke inhalation after her Jeep Liberty was struck from behind and overturned, bursting into flames. The Liberty had not been repaired under the recall at the time of the crash.
Just last week, NHTSA issued a release urging owners of the affected Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs to have their vehicles repaired free of charge as soon as possible. Chrysler says it has nearly 400,000 parts available to repair recalled vehicles and will continue to produce recall parts to meet customer demand. For its part, the company claims that the Liberty and Grand Cherokee are among the safest SUVs in their respective classes, with lower deaths per mile traveled than competitors.
Source: Automotive News