Chrysler Fights Government Recall of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty; More Recalls Announced By Tod Aronovitz | 06/10/13 | 0 Comment

A software glitch is at the center of Chrysler’s latest recall of 409,200 Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot SUVs from model years 2010 through 2012. Side airbags and seatbelt tensioners may be programmed to activate too slowly in the event of a rollover, according to the automaker and government regulators.

In addition, the company announced that 221,000 Jeep Wrangler SUVs with 3.6-liter V-6 engines are being recalled because of possible leaking of transmission fluid. Chrysler said a component of the Wrangler’s power steering system may rub against a transmission fluid cooling line, causing the fluid to leak. The recall affects Jeep Wrangler SUVs from model years 2012 and 2013.

Chrysler is not aware of any injuries or accidents caused by either of these issues. The recall is expected to begin in July 2013. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will correct the problem free of charge. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753.

The two recall announcements come on the heels of a separate safety dispute between Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier last week. NHTSA has asked Chrysler to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees, model years 1993 to 2004, and Jeep Liberty vehicles, model years 2002 to 2007, for issues with its rear-mounted gas tanks. The company, however, has refused this request.

The agency claims that rear-mounted gas tanks in the Chrysler Jeep vehicles are prone to fuel leaks. Of greater concern is the risk of vehicle fires in a rear-end crash.

In an unusual move, Chrysler is fighting the recall effort.

“The safety of drivers and passengers has long been the first priority for Chrysler brands and that commitment remains steadfast,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC. “The company stands behind the quality of its vehicles. All of us remain committed to continue working with NHTSA to provide information confirming the safety of these vehicles.”

The safety investigation dates back to August 2010, following a 2009 request by the Center for Auto Safety. The NHTSA’s analysis revealed that 51 people have been killed in rear-end crashes and fires involving Grand Cherokee and Liberty vehicles. Chrysler claims the agency’s conclusions are based on flawed data.

Chrysler has until June 18 to respond to the NHTSA. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, then the issue could be resolved in court.

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