— After denying there was a problem with its 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty, Chrysler is recalling 1,560,000 of those vehicles because of a fire risk.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Chrysler to recall 2.7 million vehicles two weeks ago. Chrysler said no, and the staring contest was on.
Chrysler blinked, although the automaker claimed it was more like a "wink" when it said,
"Analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group."
So why would Chrysler recall vehicles it believes are safe? That's called a public relations move in the game of auto sales. A fact Chrysler pointed out in a statement:
Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles.
The fight to recall these vehicles has been going on for years, primarily lead by The Center for Auto Safety, which asked last month that 5 million vehicles be recalled.
The problem is entirely due to the placement of the gas tank and fuel system. The fuel system is located behind the rear axle, a vulnerable area in a rear-end collision.
However, what dealers will do during the recall might not do much good in a high-speed crash. Chrysler said that anything it do will only help to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.
The recall should begin in July, 2013. Chrysler dealers will inspect the rear structure of each vehicle.
On vehicles that are not equipped with a tow hitch, Chrysler will install a tow hitch designed by the automaker, but only if the vehicle can support proper installation.
On vehicles that are equipped with an aftermarket tow hitch, Chrysler will inspect the hitch and surrounding areas for evidence of sharp edges or other puncture risks. If needed, dealers will install a tow hitch.
On vehicles already equipped with a Chrysler tow hitch, dealers will inspect the area around the tow hitch installation and if any issues are identified, they will be repaired.
If you're part of this mess, contact Chrysler at 800-247-9753 and refer to recall number N45 for the Grand Cherokee and N46 for the Jeep Liberty.