Chrysler stated today that the company will not heed the government's request to recall millions of Jeep sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) previously asked Chrysler to issue recalls for Jeep Grand Cherokees made between 1993 and 2004, and Jeep Libertys made between 2002 and 2007. According to CBS News, the NHTSA's move on Chrysler stems from concerns that fuel tanks on both models could cause post-accident fires in rear-end collisions.
It is rare for a car company to offer an outright refusal to the NHTSA concerning recalls. But in Chrysler's statement today, the auto company insisted that they "do not agree with the NHTSA's conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles," adding that the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models in question are "safe and are not defective." The NHTSA feels otherwise. In 2010, the agency opened up an investigation into both model SUVs at the request of a public safety advocacy group. The Center for Auto Safety contends that the positioning of the gas tank, behind the rear axle of both models, make them susceptible to post-accident fires in the event of a rear-end collision. The group also said that in rollover crashes, the plastic gas tank is not properly protected, which could cause leaks.
Since 1992, there have been 44 Jeep Grand Cherokee crashes where fire is listed as the most harmful factor in the crash, and those resulted in 55 deaths. Out of that total, 10 crashes were rear-end accidents, resulting in 13 fatalities.
At this time, it is unclear how the NHTSA will respond to Chrysler's refusal.