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Feds Request A Recall Of 2.7M Jeep Vehicles, Chrysler Pushes Back Page 2

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2007 Jeep Liberty Sport

2007 Jeep Liberty Sport

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Chrysler redesigned the Grand Cherokee in 1999, but this new 'WJ' model still had the tank located behind the rear axle, NHTSA notes, and that layout was continued through the 2004 model year. But in 2001, Chrysler introduced the same type of fuel-tank layout and positioning, in the Liberty, where it resided for 2002-2007 Liberty models. The automaker then moved the tank to ahead of the rear axle in 2008.

Feds: Grand Cherokee has a defect

For determining whether this would be considered a safety defect, the federal agency collected post-crash fire information for the Grand Cherokee versus its peer vehicles at the time—the General Motors S10 Blazer, Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner, Isuzu Rodeo, Isuzu Trooper, Mitsubishi Montero, Suzuki Sidekick , and Suzuki XL-7 were mentioned.

The agency then adjusted for the number remaining on the road using Polk registration data, and found that the fatal incident rate was far higher than most of those vehicles.

NHTSA notes that it has tentatively attributed 44 deaths over 32 rear-impact fire crashes to the issue with the Grand Cherokee, while seven deaths over five crashes have been attributed to the issue in the Liberty. The letter also includes several pictures of affected vehicles, burned out or in flames, after being rear-ended by other Chrysler vehicles.

Chrysler: Fed analysis isn't correct

Chrysler, which has been sharing data with the Agency since 2010, says that the fed's analysis isn't correct. “Our analysis shows the incidents, which are the focus of this request, occur less than once for every million years of vehicle operation,” stated the automaker. “This rate is similar to comparable vehicles produced and sold during the time in question.”

The automaker meanwhile, invites concerned owners to call its customer care line at 800-334-9200.

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