Chrysler denies NHTSA's claims that Jeep models are unsafe

Chrysler Group LLC denies NHTSA's claims that Jeeps involved in deadly rear impact crashes have defect


DETROIT – Chrysler Group LLC is saying it is not going to recall a couple million Jeeps because there is no need to.

However, the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is citing 51 deaths over a decade or more in rear impact crashes. The NHTSA says the recall is definitely necessary.

Some of the Jeep Grand Cherokees in question are pretty old -- model years 1993 to 2004. The Jeep Liberties in question are more recent -- model years 2002 to 2007. The government says plastic gas tanks behind the vehicles' rear axles are the culprit leading to deadly fires during rear impact crashes.

Chrysler is defiant, saying "the company does not agree with the NHTSA's conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective."

Read: Chrysler's response to NHTSA recall letter
Read: White paper on NHTSA's recall request
Read: NHTSA's letter to Chrysler Group LLC

Edmunds.com automotive analyst Michele Krebs say this type of response to the NHTSA is rare.

"It's highly unusual for a car company, especially since the Toyota recalls, to just absolutely say no to NHTSA, we aren't doing the recall," said Krebs. "So, Chrysler apparently feels it's on very solid ground."

Chrysler put out this letter from the United Auto Workers Vice President General Holiefield: "The findings from NHTSA are unclear and remain a mystery to those of us who are close to the development and manufacturing process."

The feds are still saying "our data shows that these vehicles may contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety ... NHTSA hopes that Chrysler will reconsider its position and take action to protect its customers and the driving public."

"We may well see the government step in a say we're going to do a mandatory recall, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it ends up in the courts," aid Krebs. "And by the way, Chrysler ha done that before and won."

Chrysler is quite defensive about this situation, even pointing out NHTSA says it's Jeeps are safe.

In fact, Chrysler put researchers on it and came up with a chart that shows its vehicles score above 50 other vehicles as it pertains to deadly crashes.

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