It took more than a year for Chrysler to begin repairing millions of flawed Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty vehicles. But now -- nearly 17 months after the recall for those vehicles was issued and several months after parts arrived to fix them -- fewer than 120,000 owners have brought in their rides for repairs.
And so, according to Detroit News, Chrysler is borrowing a page from General Motors' playbook -- well, sort of. It's not offering owners gift cards in exchange for having their vehicles fixed, but the company is making it easier for folks to schedule necessary repairs, and it's redoubling efforts to track down vehicles that may have slipped out of the system.
Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said that the Auburn Hills automaker is using "data mining" to find and locate owners. The company is also launching websites focused exclusively on these recall campaigns, which will offer details about the fix, live chat capability with representatives who can answer additional questions, and the ability to schedule repairs with a nearby dealer.
The websites are clearly needed: of the 2.7 million 1992-98 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty vehicles included in the recall, only about 88,000 have been repaired to date. That repair involves the installation of a trailer hitch, which can provide a buffer in the case of a rear-end collision and protect the gas tank on affected Jeeps. An additional 31,000 vehicles that already had trailer hitches installed have been inspected.
If you own one of the vehicles included in the recall, we encourage you to have it repaired soon. Although Chrysler claimed that the placement of the gas tank behind the rear axle on Jeep vehicles was perfectly safe -- so safe that Chrysler initially resisted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's request for a recall -- real-world evidence has brought Chrysler's claim into question. To date, at least 37 fires have resulted from rear-impact collisions on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty, resulting in 51 deaths.
Until Chrysler's new websites go live, you're encouraged to contact Chrysler customer service with questions. The company can be reached at 800-247-9753. For reference, the company's internal campaign numbers are N45 for the Grand Cherokee vehicles and N46 for the Liberty.
If you prefer, you can also call NHTSA directly at 888-327-4236 and inquire about campaign #13V252000.