The government cut the number of Jeeps it wants recalled and in turn, Chrysler said it’ll agree to the recall.
The automaker says it’ll recall as many as 1.56 million 1993-1998 Jeep grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs.
On June 6, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested a recall of 2.7 million, including 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees. Chrysler said, adamantly, “no” to NHTSA then.
But after extensive discussions and an almost 11th-hour agreement, the car company said it will recall the smaller number of Jeeps.
The recall excludes 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees, which are a different design than the earlier models. NHTSA originally had wanted those included in the recall.
Chrysler says it will perform a “customer service action” on those newer Grand Cherokees. They get the same treatment as the recalled models, but Chrysler doesn’t have to include refer to those as a recall.
NHTSA says the Jeeps being recalled are involved in deadly fires after rear crashes too often. Chrysler had been insisting that was untrue.
As part of the agreement with NHTSA, Chrysler doesn’t have to call the Jeeps defective. That will help Chrysler defend itself in any lawsuits over fire deaths in those Jeeps.
And Chrysler only has to say the modifications it might make to some Jeeps are effective in minor bumps — “low-speed impacts,” as the car company’s statement puts it.
The most gruesome deaths have been in fires following rear-end crashes by vehicles going highway speed into Jeeps that were stopped or going slowing. Chrysler isn’t being required to say those won’t happen again.
Chrysler says it will have dealers conduct “visual inspection of the vehicle” and “will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.”
It comes down to trailer hitches.
The recalled Jeeps and the others in the “customer service action” will be inspected by dealers to see if they have trailer hitches.
If they have factory-installed hiches, or hitches from Chrysler’s parts unit, Mopar, and the hitches are in good shape, the Jeeps will be pronounced OK.
If they have no hitches, they will likewise be good to go.
If they have non-Chrysler hitches, those will be replaced free with Mopar units.
NHTSA said it is “pleased that Chrysler has agreed to take action to protect its customers and the driving public.”