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3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees under investigation over fire danger

DETROIT The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is investigating whether an estimated three million Jeep Grand Cherokees are at risk for a fire in a rear-impact collision.

The investigation is in response to a petition by the Center for Auto Safety. They say the gas tanks in the 1993-2004 model years are too vulnerable. An investigation is a first step in a process that could lead to a recall.

At issue is the location of a bolt on the rear-stabilizer bar which is only an inch from the gas tank. The Center for Auto Safety says the bolt is too close and could puncture the gas tank in rear-impact crashes, increasing the risk of a fire.

Paul Steel of Southfield Chrysler Jeep is skeptical. They are one of the largest Jeep deals in the country. With three million Jeeps having been sold nationwide, he believes they would have heard of a potential fire problem before now.

Chrysler issued a statement in response to the investigation. It says "Chrysler Group LLC is cooperating fully with NHTSA regarding an investigation into 1993-2004 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles. It is important to note that this is an investigation, not a recall. Indeed, the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and has an excellent safety record."

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