After months of maintaining that they would not issue a recall to address concerns that certain Jeep models catch fire when struck from behind, Chrysler has agreed to recall a decade of Jeep Grand Cherokees and five model years of Jeep Liberty. Chrysler’s last minute decision to issue the recall as recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helps the company to avoid a public hearing in which affected customers in Virginia and around the U.S. would have aired their complaints, a process that could have resulted in the company being forced to issue an involuntary recall.
About 2.7 million Chrysler vehicles are impacted by the recall, which includes the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberty that were produced during the model years 2002-2007. Public safety groups had asked Chrysler to provide additional stability to the plastic fuel tanks in the recalled vehicles by installing a steel plate; however, Chrysler, which still does not agree that the fuel tank design is defective, only agreed to modify some cars with a trailer hitch to add additional protection against rear impact collisions.
Despite the recall, Chrysler still faces several product liability suits from individuals claiming that a fuel tank defect in Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles led to vehicle fires, which resulted in injury and death. According to the NHTSA, there have been just under 40 such accidents reported, and around 50 individuals died as a result.
Individuals who have been negatively impacted by defective products are often unsure of what steps they need to take to receive compensation for their losses. Attorneys working in the area of personal injury may be able to familiarize clients with their rights under the law and develop a strategy to pursue remedies and restitution.
Source: CNN Money, “Chrysler relents, agrees to recall 2.7 million Jeeps“, Chris Isidore, June 19, 2013