Automaker Chrysler recently declined a voluntary recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that could have affected about 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles currently on the road. Vehicle defects can cause serious injuries or even death, as many experienced Kentucky car accident attorneys have seen.
The recall, if issued, would cover Grand Cherokee vehicles in model years 1993 to 2004 and Liberty vehicles manufactured in model years 2002 to 2007 – about 2.7 million vehicles in all. It would seek to relocate or repair the fuel tanks, which are currently placed behind the vehicles’ rear axles.
The initial NHTSA investigation was based on a 2009 petition from the Center for Automotive Safety, which was concerned that the fuel tank placement may make the affected vehicles more prone to vehicle fires, explosions, and/or fuel leaks if another vehicle rear-ends the Jeep vehicle.
Chrysler, however, recently issued a press release indicating that it did not intend to issue a voluntary recall. The company disagrees that the accident statistics indicate a need for a recall. Instead, Chrysler notes, the vehicles met federal safety standards for the years they were manufactured.
Chrysler will give its official response to the NHTSA within two weeks, after which the agency will decide whether the placement of the fuel tanks constitutes a vehicle defect. If the NHTSA decides the vehicles are defective, Chrysler may either recall them or appeal the decision in federal court.