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Chrysler Group LLC Responds to NHTSA Recall Letter

June 4, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued a recall request letter proposing that Chrysler Group recall the Jeep Grand Cherokee in model years 1993 to 2004 and the Jeep Liberty in model years 2002 to 2007 (a total of approximately 2.7 million vehicles).

Chrysler Group has been working and sharing data with the Agency on this issue since September 2010. The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective.

We believe NHTSA’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the Agency to resolve this disagreement.

“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.”

Chrysler Group’s position on this matter is clear.

These vehicles met and exceeded all applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including FMVSS 301, pertaining to fuel-system integrity. Our analysis shows the incidents, which are the focus of this request, occur less than once for every million years of vehicle operation. This rate is similar to comparable vehicles produced and sold during the time in question.

Chrysler Group stands behind the quality and safety of its vehicles. It conducts voluntary recalls when they are warranted, and in most cases, before any notice or investigation request from NHTSA.

Customers who have questions or concerns can call the Chrysler Group’s customer care line: 1-800-334-9200.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A fatal fire involving a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was struck by a pick-up truck, according to NHTSA.

06/04/2013

In a rare rebuff of the U.S. government, Chrysler Group is refusing a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration request for a recall of 2.7 million SUVs.

The government agency says the gas tank design used in 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Libertys is unsafe.

It is the first time since 1996 that an automaker has challenged a recall demand from the safety agency. That case, also involving Chrysler, was over the seat belt system on 91,000 cars. Chrysler -- which was an independent U.S. company at the time -- won a federal court decision on that dispute two years later.
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Opinion: Chrysler is Right to Refuse the Jeep Recall Request

06/08/2013

Chrysler is certainly not going to win any popularity contests with its decision to refuse to voluntarily recall millions of Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberty SUVs, but when you start to examine the facts, I believe Chrysler made the right decision.

Standing up for what’s right is tough, especially in an overly litigious society in which lawyers toss their own verbal firebombs, fanning the flames of Jeeps and parading burn victims into court hoping for a big cut of the proceeds.


Right now, Chrysler is getting sued, I’ve been told, by people claiming they were victims to defective gas tanks and poorly designed vehicles that burst into flames at the first sign of a tailwind. A recall could bolster those cases.

And despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requesting Chrysler agree to a voluntary recall of 2.7 million Jeeps this week, Chrysler continues to say no.

I understand the dramatic footage being shown around the world and the public’s oversimplified approach to blame a profit-hungry corporation for all of its ills. Still, Chrysler is right to tell the government to hit the brakes.

Don’t fix what ain’t broke

First of all, the request came from the U.S. government, not the pope. The government is not infallible, something it seems to go out of its way to prove nearly all the time.

Second, the recall is voluntary. That means it’s Chrysler’s decision, not the feds’. And Chrysler has a proven track record of recalling vehicles when there are flaws. Today, Chrysler



Read more: Chrysler is Right to Refuse the Jeep Recall Request
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Chrysler Group and NHTSA Resolve Recall Request
June 18, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Chrysler Group LLC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resolved their differences with respect to NHTSA’s request to recall 1993-2004 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty vehicles.

As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.

Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group. Nonetheless, 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.

Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chrysler to Provide Trailer Hitches

Chrysler to Provide Trailer Hitches to Late-Model Jeeps

06/19/2013

Chrysler said today that due to customers’ “raised concerns” it would add or replace trailer hitches on some older model Jeeps now at the center of a safety debate between the automaker and the U.S. government.

Mike Palese, a Chrysler spokesman, told ABC News today that the trailer hitch would “provide more ability to absorb some crash forces” in rear-impact accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had been seeking a recall of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, model years 1993 to 2004 and Jeep Liberty, model years 2002 to 2007.

In its initial findings, the NHTSA said that at least 51 people had died in the vehicles involving rear-impact crashes and fires. The problem, according to the government, is the location of the fuel tank.

It is situated behind the rear axle, and slightly below the bumper. That makes it vulnerable to rupture when the vehicle is hit from behind.

Chrysler’s action covers fewer model years of the Grand Cherokee, only those from 1993 to 1998, leaving out some vehicles covered by the government’s initial recall request. Chrysler told ABC News that owners of those vehicles do not need fixes, unless they have an after-market trailer hitch on the car. Then they should come to the dealer for an inspection and possible replacement of the hitch.

The company still insists that the government’s analysis is incomplete and the vehicles are safe and have no defect. The automaker called today’s move a “voluntary campaign,” not a recall.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said his group was “skeptical.”

“It is a safety recall,” he said. “We’re no longer arguing over whether there is a recall but what the remedy is. [The] NHTSA has the ability to approve the remedy. What NHTSA needs to do is test the remedy.”

Ditlow said his group also wanted Chrysler to expand the recall to include Jeep Cherokees, model years 1993 to 2001. Those vehicles have the gas tank in the same location as the ones subject to the automaker’s voluntary campaign. The NHTSA had been investigating that model but had not asked Chrysler to recall it.

Ditlow’s group had wanted a shield over the fuel tank as well as a new check valve system to shut off the flow of gasoline if the filler hose is yanked out of the tank in a crash.

Chrysler said it would not be adding shields over the fuel tank or changing the fuel nozzle.

In a statement today, the NHTSA said it was pleased with the actions taken by Chrysler.

“Consumers impacted by the safety recall and customer satisfaction campaign should have their vehicles serviced promptly. … We will continue our investigation into this issue,” the group said.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Chrysler Jeep Recall Limited To Certain Models


06/20/2013

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - Our consumer team has reported for over a year about the safety of certain late model Jeeps.

Chrysler has agreed to recall some of the 2.7 million SUVs where the plastic gas tanks are linked to crashes where people burned to death. But not all of them.

Only 1.56 million of the Jeep SUVs are actually part of the recall. They are the 1993 to 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees. And, the 2002 to 2007 Jeep Liberty models.


Chrysler will install a trailer hitch assembly on these models. The company now says it will protect the gas tank.

But the 1.2 million 1999 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee models will be part of a Customer Service Campaign.

So, Chrysler will inspect your SUV and if it has a non-factory installed hitch on it, the company will replace it. If your SUV doesn't have a hitch, it won't get one. Chrysler says the fuel systems in these models are different than the ones they agreed to recall.

As part of the recall, Chrysler did not agree that these vehicles were defective. The company maintains its vehicles are safe.

But, in a letter Chrysler sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yesterday, the company raised some questions about its own fix.

Writing to NHTSA, "The trailer hitch cannot and will not mitigate the risk of the high energy rear collision identified in your recall."

It's something that concerns auto safety advocates who first brought this gas tank issue to the government.

Clarence Ditlow says, "It doesn't prevent the striking vehicle from going under and rupturing the fuel tank. In addition, it doesn't allow for support of the fuel tank itself and shielding. The filler hose can still pull loose. All the defects that were demonstrated in the crash test, ahh, are not corrected by this remedy."

So, Clarence Ditlow and the consumer non-profit Center for Auto Safety are urging Chrysler to recall all of the late model Jeep Grand Cherokees.

And, they want NHTSA to crash test the trailer hitch fixes as part of their continuing investigation.

Chrysler says that trailer hitch fix is only designed to protect the gas tank[ in low speed crashes.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
October 30, 2013


Four months after Chrysler agreed to recall about 1.6 million 2002-7 Jeep Liberty and 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee models over rear-impact fire danger, owners still have not been told by the company to bring their vehicles to dealerships for repairs.

Chrysler told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in June that Jeep owners would be notified in July about the recall. That hasn’t happened.


“Preparations continue to implement the announced actions,” Eric Mayne, a Chrysler spokesman, wrote in an email. “Customers will be advised when to schedule vehicle inspections with their dealers.”

He did not provide additional information.

The agency, which pressured Chrysler to issue the recall, will not say whether it agrees with Chrysler’s plan to use a trailer hitch to protect the gas tank, or whether it will act upon a request from the Center for Auto Safety to conduct crash testing to determine if that solution will protect occupants. The agency has offered no new comments on the recall, Nathan Naylor, a spokesman for the safety agency, wrote in an email.

Four months is “an extraordinarily long wait” for vehicle owners, Allan Kam, a safety consultant in Bethesda, Md., who once served as N.H.T.S.A.'s senior enforcement lawyer, said in an interview. “Maybe the adequacy of the remedy is at issue in some way.”

Chrysler says that trailer hitches will protect the gas tanks, which are mounted behind the rear axle and are vulnerable to rear impacts, although Chrysler told the agency that a trailer hitch “cannot and will not mitigate the risk of high-energy rear collisions” but would “incrementally improve the performance” in “certain types of low-speed impacts.” There are no federal safety standards for trailer hitches.

A top Chrysler engineer testified in a deposition that the trailer hitch was not designed to protect the gas tank.

N.H.T.S.A. says it is aware of 51 deaths in rear-impact crashes that resulted in fires.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Jeep recall from last June still not begun

01/10/14

Seven months after Chrysler Group promised the government it would recall 1.56 million older Jeeps for what federal officials say is a potential fire hazard, the automaker says it only now is preparing to build the needed repair parts.

Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both are disinclined to say much about the lag.

Chrysler -- which vigorously insists there's no safety problem in the Jeeps -- says it now "has finalized replacement-part design and is initiating the tooling process to deliver the required volume." In a December letter to owners of the Jeeps, the car company had warned that the parts "do not exist," but it was trying to come up with them.

In a statement to USA TODAY, the car company said, "Launching a safety recall demands complex engineering and close collaboration with NHTSA well before we accumulate replacement parts. Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to customer safety."

The parts involved seemingly are simple -- trailer hitches like those installed as original equipment on the 1993 - 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002 -2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs.

When it agreed with NHTSA last June to recall the vehicles, Chrysler said that it and the agency agreed that adding trailer hitches to Jeeps that don't have them, or have non-standard hitches, was intended only to " incrementally improve the performance of certain (Jeeps) in certain types of low-speed impacts."

NHTSA declines to say if seven months is too long, or whether it is likely to sue the car company in federal court to force quicker action.

The agency only would say, "NHTSA does not comment on the details of open investigations. Throughout this process, NHTSA has been in close communication with Chrysler." NHTSA says it will publish the results of its analysis, but won't say when that might be.

If the months have been spent designing a super-safe hitch assembly that shields the gas tanks, the time lapse could be overlooked, according to Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety.

If not, he says his advocacy organization is inclined to "fight it."

A super-shield hitch is unlikely, given the reference to incremental improvement in low-speed crashes in the original deal with NHTSA.

Chrysler's comment to USA TODAY that it is working on tooling the hitches is progress of a sort -- especially for owners who suspected the worst when they got the December letter saying no parts were available for the recall.

NHTSA argues, and Chrysler vehemently disagrees, that the Jeeps' rear-mounted fuel tanks make them more vulnerable to leaks and fires in rear-end collisions.

Last June, the agency asked Chrysler to recall 2.7 million Jeeps. In a rare public showdown with regulators, Chrysler refused. The automaker published a "white paper" with statistics showing the Jeeps' involvement in rear-crash fires was insignificantly different than other vehicles with rear-mounted gas tanks.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and NHTSA's then-administrator, David Stickland, in a last-minute phone call, personally negotiated a deal to recall fewer Jeeps.

As part of that, Chrysler also isn't required to say the vehicles have a safety problem or are faulty, which most recalls require the car maker to do.

At the time the recalled Jeeps were built, the government required vehicle fuel systems to remain intact when hit from behind at 30 mph. The current rule is much tougher: Fuel systems can't leak after a 50-mph rear crash, and the testing for that is done using a device that concentrates the force of the crash more than the test device used during the 30-mph regulation.

The most infamous rear-crash fire recall is the 1970s Ford Pinto. Ditlow says that in that case, the government required Ford to install components that made the cars meet newer, stricter safety regulations than those in effect when the cars were built.
SOURCE
 

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Chrysler to Recall Fire-Prone Jeeps to Add Trailer Hitches

01/10/2014



After announcing a recall last June over a rear-impact collision fire hazard, Chrysler is finally preparing to recall nearly 1.6 million 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-7 Jeep Liberty S.U.V.'s. The fix the automaker is using to correct the problem – the vehicles’ fuel tanks are exposed to rear impacts – is controversial: Chrysler will install trailer hitches to protect the fuel tanks and reduce the chance of fires caused by rear-impact collisions.

“Chrysler Group has finalized replacement part design and is initiating the tooling process to deliver the required volume,” Chrysler said in a statement Thursday evening. “Launching a safety recall demands complex engineering and close collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration well before we accumulate replacement parts. Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to customer safety.”

In addition, letters that Chrysler plans to send to owners have been posted on N.H.T.S.A.'s website.

Eric Mayne, the Chrysler spokesman who issued the company’s statement, declined to answer questions about the timing of the recall.

Nathan Naylor, a spokesman for N.H.T.S.A., said in a telephone interview that the investigation into Chrysler’s remedy was continuing.

Chrysler agreed to the recall under pressure from the safety agency, which contended that the vehicles were more likely than similar models from competitors to catch fire when struck from the rear. The reason is that the Jeeps’ gas tanks are behind the rear axle, making them more vulnerable to rear impact. Chrysler denied that allegation, telling the agency that the vehicles were safe.

Consumer groups, including the Center for Auto Safety, have questioned the effectiveness of using a hitch, which is designed to tow trailers, as a protective device for rear-impact collisions. The center asked N.H.T.S.A. to conduct crash tests of the proposed remedy, but the safety agency had not commented on whether it would.

In a 2011 deposition during a wrongful-death suit involving a rear-impact fire in a 1996 Grand Cherokee, François J. Castaing, Chrysler’s vice president for engineering in 1988-96, said, “The tow package does not protect the tank.”
SOURCE
 

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January 17, 2014


NHTSA closes investigation into 2.7M Jeep SUVs over fire risks



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is closing its long-running investigation into 2.7 million older Jeep SUVs over concerns that gas tanks mounted in the rear could pose a unreasonable risk of fires in rear-end crashes.

The government also is dropping its request for Chrysler Group LLC to recall the SUVs.


“The agency has been in close communication with Chrysler and has no reservations at this time with their announced actions to move forward,” NHTSA said in a statement. “Consumers should have their vehicles serviced promptly once they receive final notification from Chrysler. NHTSA will continue to monitor consumer outreach as the recall process continues.”

The federal auto safety agency informed Chrysler of the decision late this week, officials briefed on the probe said. NHTSA’s formal closing of the investigation will come in the next few weeks with the release of a closing report.

“Chrysler Group commends the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the diligence demonstrated over the course of this investigation. We share NHTSA’s commitment to safety,” the automaker said in a statement.

The decision marks a victory for Chrysler, which in June refused to issue a widespread and costly recall, which the government requested in early June.

Chrysler did, however, agree June 18 to recall 1.56 million 1992-98 Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Libertys to install some trailer hitches that would protect the gas tank.

NHTSA said in June the SUV’s gas tank could rupture and catch fire when the Jeeps in question are hit from behind. NHTSA cited reports of 51 deaths in rear-end accidents in which older Jeep gas tanks leaked and caught fire in urging a recall to fix the risk of fires.

Chrysler said last week it was still preparing to begin fixing vehicles it had agreed to recall. Last year, it estimated the cost of that recall at $151 million.

Since the recall was announced, NHTSA had continued to investigate the case, which it first opened in August 2010.

Friday’s announcement came at the end of NHTSA Administrator David Strickland’s four-year-tenure as the nation’s top auto safety regulator.

Under the announcement in June, Chrysler is also conducting a service campaign for about 1.2 million 1999-2004 Grand Cherokees that includes replacing aftermarket trailer hitches. But the automaker is not installing them on vehicles without hitches.

In July, Strickland disputed Chrysler’s contention that its decision to install trailer hitches on some Jeeps won’t help protect gas tanks — which are located behind the rear axle — in some high-speed crashes.

Chrysler itself, while defending the safety of the Jeeps, said the trailer hitch will not eliminate the risk caused by high-speed rear collisions. The hitch will provide “incremental improvement in the crash energy management in low- to moderate-speed rear collisions,” Chrysler said in a letter to NHTSA in June.

Chrysler said the trailer hitch assembly will protect the gas tank, which is between the rear axle and bumper, in rear-end crashes. Dealers will install the hitches. Jeeps that already have factory-installed or Mopar hitches won’t need to get a new ones, but those with neither a hitch nor a non-factory installed hitches will get new ones.

NHTSA said at least 32 fatal rear-impact fire crashes involving Grand Cherokees have resulted in 44 deaths, and at least five fatal rear-impact crashes involving the Liberty have resulted in seven fatalities. Comparing rates of incidents with similar vehicles, NHTSA said the Grand Cherokee and Liberty “are poor performers.” Chrysler said that wasn’t true.

Chrysler noted that fires happen in all vehicles after crashes. “According to NHTSA’s own data, on average, more than 40 individuals each day are exposed to a post-crash fire, and approximately four of these individuals will not survive,” Chrysler’s letter said. “While each of these cases is tragic, they would not have all been prevented by different struck vehicle designs.”

The Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit founded by safety crusader Ralph Nader and the Consumers Union, repeatedly urged Chrysler to recall the vehicles and also urged NHT
SA to crash test the trailer hitch remedy.

From The Detroit News: NHTSA closes investigation into 2.7M Jeep SUVs over fire risks | The Detroit News
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Chrysler Will Take a Year to Begin Jeep Recall

Chrysler Will Take a Year to Begin Jeep Recall


April 11, 2014


Parts to repair 1.56 million older-model Chrysler Group LLC Jeeps, recalled because of a danger of fuel-tank fires, won't be available until August, more than a year after the company first agreed to recall the vehicles.

The auto maker, now a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, blamed the slow response on the complexity of engineering a fix and enlisting suppliers to build the parts. While Chrysler parts production will start next month, availability isn't expected for another three months, according a posting on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

"Launching a safety recall demands complex engineering and close collaboration with NHTSA well before an auto maker accumulates replacement parts," the company said in a statement. The proposed fix would install a trailer hitch assembly to the back of 1993-1998 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty sport-utility vehicles.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of safety advocate the Center for Auto Safety, which petitioned Chrysler to recall the Jeeps in 2009, said it is unacceptable that it will take Chrysler more than a year to fix the vehicles, especially since adding a trailer hitch isn't "complex engineering."

The more time that passes to repair the SUVs, the more lives are put at risk, he said. "NHTSA has failed because they have the authority to force an auto maker to contract with additional suppliers and repair facilities to expedite a recall that has a serious safety risk," he said. Mr. Ditlow is skeptical of the trailer hitch fix and has urged NHTSA to crash test vehicles with the proposed remedy to ensure it works.

NHTSA didn't respond to requests to comment. In January, NHTSA said the agency has "no reservation at this time" with Chrysler's plans to fix the SUVs and that it remains in close communication with the company.

Chrysler agreed to recall the Jeeps last June, after first rejecting a previous request by U.S. safety regulators to fix as many as 2.7 million vehicles. NHTSA had linked the Jeeps' fuel-tank design and placement with fiery rear-end collisions that led to 51 deaths.

The Auburn Hills, Mich., auto maker also agreed to inspect and, if needed, replace non-Chrysler Mopar brand towing hitches on 1.14 million 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees at no cost to owners.

Chrysler has argued its Jeeps are safe and have no design defect. It has already contacted customers about the recall and will notify them again to schedule a repair, it said.

"To accommodate high-volume production, Chrysler Group had to find and enlist new supplier partners who required time to acquire necessary tooling," Chrysler said on Friday.

Allan J. Kam, a consultant who served 25 years as an enforcement attorney at NHTSA, called the repair delay "quite unusual" for recalls. "Usually a remedy is a lot quicker than that," Mr. Kam said, noting that often it is completed within a few months.





Read more: Chrysler Will Take a Year to Begin Jeep Recall - NASDAQ.com
 

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Jeep hitch output starts this week

Jeep hitch output starts this week

05/04/2014

DETROIT -- Chrysler Group suppliers this week will begin manufacturing trailer hitch assemblies to protect fuel tanks of some older model Jeeps, nearly a year after the automaker agreed to fix the allegedly fire-prone SUVs.

The hitch assemblies for 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Jeep Libertys are expected to be at dealerships late this summer, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dealers will install the assemblies for free on the SUVs under a settlement reached last year between Chrysler and NHTSA that covers an estimated 1.56 million Grand Cherokees and Libertys.

Chrysler took a $151 million charge in the second quarter last year to pay for the campaign.

The assemblies are mounted on three sides around gasoline tanks. They will help shield the tanks in low-energy crashes, Chrysler says.

The company says that service techs will need a new tool, which is being made by a supplier, for the installation. A Chrysler spokesman declined to identify the tool.

In early June 2013, NHTSA demanded that Chrysler recall 2.7 million Jeeps, which the agency said had an elevated incidence of fires from high-energy rear-end collisions. Chrysler disputed the finding, saying the SUVs were not defective and met the standards applicable at the time they were built.

Ultimately, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne negotiated a deal with NHTSA to end the agency's formal request for a recall.

Under the deal, dealerships will inspect the older Jeeps and install Mopar hitch assemblies on vehicles that lack them.

Chrysler said it will contact consumers to schedule inspections. It said delays were caused by having "to find and enlist multiple new supplier partners who required time to acquire the necessary tooling."

The automaker said its engineers had to "develop new installation protocols" to ensure that the hitch assemblies are installed correctly on the vehicles, "which will be in various stages of repair."
SOURCE
 

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Statement: Response to NHTSA special order

Statement: Response to NHTSA special order

July 3, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Chrysler Group welcomes the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the agency, after conducting and analyzing eight rear impact crash reconstruction tests, NHTSA informed Chrysler that "it did not have any reservations about implementation of Chrysler's proposed remedy." This reflects Chrysler Group's long-standing position -- supported in the public record by real-world data -- that the vehicles are not defective. They are among the safest in their peer groups and met or exceeded the standards in effect at the time they were first sold. We remain unwavering in our commitment to design, engineer and build vehicles that afford outstanding customer safety and security.

We note that this campaign has been conducted in close coordination with NHTSA. The agency has had full knowledge of our activities. Chrysler Group complied with all applicable regulations governing recalls, and has been working with NHTSA all along in this process.

Launching a safety recall demands complex engineering and close coordination with NHTSA well before an automaker accumulates replacement parts. To accommodate the high-volume production required for this campaign, Chrysler Group had to find and enlist multiple new supplier partners to supply volume of this part that far exceeded normal demand.

Parts production has commenced. Our supplier partners are committed to a work schedule of three shifts per day, six days per week, with occasional Sunday production. Chrysler Group has already contacted affected customers and advised them of our intentions. They will be contacted again when the time is appropriate to schedule service. The cost of this work will be borne by the Company.
 

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$7,000 per day fine

Chrysler too slow on Jeep fix, claim feds and penalties loom

July 3, 2014

Regulators send stern letter to Chrysler requesting an update on the recall. The NHTSA expressed concern for the amount of time the recall was taking and threatens civil penalties.

After coming to terms in 2013 to address a recall of Chrysler vehicles that has been linked to 51 fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator stated in a July 2, 2014 direct order that the automaker was moving too slowly in address the fuel tank issues of the more than 1.5 million automobiles that were called back.

The recall reportedly applied to 1.5 million Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles, with model years 2002 through 2007 and 1993 through 1998 respectively. The NHTSA's order to Chrysler also included an undisclosed amount of Chrysler automobiles that were added to the 1.5 million vehicle recall.

The NHTSA's letter ordered Chrysler to hand over information regarding the progress of the recall, including its data collection measures and strategy for bringing the recall to a close. Chrysler was also reminded it agreed to provide six reports each quarter during the recall regarding progress

The NHTSA and Chrysler agreed installing trailer hitches at the rear of the recalled vehicles would absorb the damage of a rear-end collision and prevent the rupture of precariously placed fuel tanks.

The NHTSA was hesitant at first to accept Chrysler's trailer hitch remedy for the fuel tank issues. The NHTSA got on board with the automaker mitigation plan after the safety association held a battery of tests, performing eight rear collision and reconstruction tests with the hitches between Aug. 22, 2013 and Jan. 2, 2014.

The NHTSA's July 2, 2014 letter reminded Chrysler the automaker was ordered to encourage owners of the recalled Jeeps to have the rear structures of the automobiles inspected. The automaker was to install Chrysler trailer hitches on vehicles lacking such components and inspect the installation of automobiles that already had one installed.

The NHTSA stated it was concerned Chrysler can't produce the necessary quantity of trailer hitch and hitch installations to complete the recall in a timely manner and the slow pace of the recall would enable Chrysler to mitigate the financial costs more than eliminate the danger presented.

"For many owners, a recall remedy deferred by parts availability easily becomes a defect remedy denied," stated the NHTSA.

Chrysler was given until July 16, 2014 to formally respond to the NHTSA's order and warned failure to respond could result in civil penalty ranging from $7,000 per day, up to a maximum fine of $35 million.
SOURCE
 

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Chrysler to speed up fixes for Jeep SUV

Chrysler to speed up fixes for Jeep SUV
Automaker under pressure on recall due to fire risk


07/16/2014

Washington — Under government pressure, Chrysler Group LLC on Wednesday said it will be able to produce enough trailer hitches to complete a June 2013 recall of 1.56 million Jeep SUVs by mid-March — far faster than the original timetable of up to 4.7 years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanded earlier this month Chrysler answer questions about what the pace of producing parts to fix older Jeep SUVs at risk for fuel tank fires. The parts are designed to protect gas tanks behind the rear axle in rear-end collisions.

NHTSA said in a July 2 letter to the Auburn Hills unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV that it could take Chrysler “at least 4.7 years and 2.1 years respectively to produce the required number of Grand Cherokee and Liberty hitches at the current rate of production.”

In a 10-page response Wednesday to NHTSA, Chrysler said it “undertook a review of the capabilities of its hitch supplier, Northern Stamping Inc, and other competitors to see if it could speed up production” and found a way to do so.

The new cells will allow NSI to double production rates in about five months. But Chrysler said if all owners sought repairs it would take until March 2016.

When vehicle attrition is taken into account and recall participation rates of older vehicles, Chrysler estimates 268,772 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 579,455 Jeep Liberty hitch assemblies will be installed — about 50 percent of Grand Cherokees and 80 percent of Liberty SUVs.

Last year, NHTSA formally asked Chrysler to recall 2.7 million 1992-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Jeep Libertys, saying they were suspectible to fires from ruptured gas tanks after severe rear-end crashes. The government blames such collisions for the deaths of at least 51 people driving Jeep SUVs.

In June 2013, Chrysler agreed to a more limited recall following talks. The automaker announced a fix — a trailer hitch assembly to help protect the gas tank, which is between the rear axle and bumper. But Chrysler said it would not address all fire concerns. Chrysler reiterated in its letter to NHTSA that it expects the recall will cost $151 million.

Chrysler is notifying 1.5 million 1993-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee and one million 2002-07 Jeep Liberty owners, though not all will get new hitches.

NHTSA said at least 32 rear-impact fire crashes involving Grand Cherokees have resulted in 44 deaths, and at least five rear-impact crashes involving the Liberty have resulted in seven fatalities. Comparing rates of incidents with similar vehicles, NHTSA said the Grand Cherokee and Liberty “are poor performers.” Chrysler disputed that.
From The Detroit News: Chrysler to speed up fixes for Jeep SUV | The Detroit News
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Chrysler ramps up effort to fix recalled Jeep SUVs

11/06/2014

Washington — Chrysler Group LLC said Thursday it is ramping up efforts to get reluctant owners to get recalled SUVs repaired for risk of rear gas tank fires, including plans to launch a new website.

The Auburn Hills unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV says since August, it has completed recalls on 119,000 vehicles recalled in June 2013. Of those vehicles, the automaker replaced or installed trailer hitches — or added new bolts — in nearly 90,000 vehicles recalled for risk of rear gas tank fires.

Chrysler started mailing notices in August and completed mailing of 2.3 million letters to owners on Sept. 27.


So far about 119,000 owners have responded to the recall letters — or only about 1 in 20 — and about 90,000 have had new trailer hitches installed.

“We are initiating a second round of outreach via data mining to ensure we account for as many affected owners as possible,” Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne said. “We are creating and promoting new websites dedicated to these campaigns; websites will feature campaign information, relevant instructions and live-chat capability to handle additional questions.”

The new website is not yet live and Chrysler is working quickly to launch the new site.

Chrysler says it has more than 427,000 trailer hitches in stock as of this week — and will have more than 550,000 by Dec. 1. The parts are designed to protect gas tanks in rear-end collisions. Chrysler notes that the vehicles met safety requirements in force at the time the vehicles were built and insists they are not defective.

The new website will allow owners to schedule service with any dealer online.

Jeeps that already have factory-installed or Mopar hitches won't need to get new ones, but those without a hitch or with non-factory installed hitches will get new ones.

In addition, Chrysler agreed to conduct a customer service campaign for 1.2 million 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Chrysler will replace non-factory-installed trailer hitches in order to make sure that sharp edges from aftermarket hitches don't have the potential to puncture gas tanks. It will not, however, install hitches for those vehicles that don't already have hitches.

The trailer hitches installed by Chrysler don’t have a ball and receiver — and owners would need to purchase them for towing.

For vehicles with factory installed hitches, Chrysler will replace the two most rearward mounting bolts — if the vehicle is in a condition that they can be removed. If the vehicle is not in proper condition to allow the installation of a new trailer hitch or bolts, dealers will advise owners on what repairs they need to have completed before the installation can take place.

Chrysler said in July it will be able to produce enough trailer hitches to complete a 2013 recall of 1.56 million Jeep SUVs by mid-March 2015, far faster than the original timetable of up to 4.7 years. When vehicle attrition is taken into account, along with lower recall participation rates for older vehicles, Chrysler estimates that 268,772 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 579,455 Jeep Liberty hitch assemblies will be installed — about 50 percent of the Grand Cherokees and 80 percent of the Liberty SUVs that were made.

In July, a top official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration questioned Chrysler’s estimate that it will only have to repair half of all recalled Jeep Grand Cherokees SUVs for fire risks.

NHTSA demanded this summer that Chrysler answer questions about the pace of producing the trailer hitches to fix older Jeep SUVs at risk for fuel tank fires.

Last year, NHTSA formally asked Chrysler to recall 2.7 million 1992-98 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty SUVs, saying they were suspectible to fires from ruptured gas tanks after severe rear-end crashes. The government blames such collisions for the deaths of at least 51 people driving Jeep SUVs.

In June 2013, Chrysler agreed to a more limited recall following talks between CEO Sergio Marchionne and then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The automaker announced a fix — a trailer hitch assembly to help protect the gas tank, which is between the rear axle and bumper. But Chrysler said it would not address all fire concerns. Chrysler says it expects the recall will cost $151 million.

NHTSA said at least 32 rear-impact fire crashes involving Grand Cherokees have resulted in 44 deaths, and at least five rear-impact crashes involving the Liberty have resulted in seven fatalities. Comparing rates of incidents with similar vehicles, NHTSA said the Grand Cherokee and Liberty "are poor performers." Chrysler disputed that.
SOURCE
 

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Chrysler CEO fires back at NHTSA on recall repair rate

Chrysler CEO fires back at NHTSA on recall repair rate

November 21, 2014

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sent a letter to NHTSA Friday saying the automaker has fixed 13% of Jeep Libertys and 3.5% of Jeep Cherokees recalled and is working to get more fixed.


Chrysler said it now has more than 430,000 trailer hitches available.

Owners can check if their Jeep is recalled at safercar.gov or by calling Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753.



Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne fired back at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration one day after the agency blasted the automaker for its "woeful" recall repair rate on 1.56 million Jeep SUVs.

On Thursday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman criticized Chrysler for the time it is taking the automaker to get parts to dealers and convince customers to fix Jeep SUVs under a recall to install trailer hitches to protect rear-mounted fuel tanks.

"With respect to your letter of November 19, be assured Chrysler Group takes seriously its commitment to motor-vehicle safety," Marchionne said in a letter Friday to Friedman. "I feel compelled to deliver up-to-date information that should alleviate your concerns."

Chrysler told NHTSA Friday that owners of 112,829 Jeep Libertys recalled from model years 2002-2007, or 13.2%, have been fixed.

The automaker also said 26,352 Jeep Grand Cherokees out of 746,588 affected by the recall of model years 1993-1998, or 3.5% have been fixed.

Generally, the older the cars are that are recalled the harder it is to locate owners and convince them to follow through on recall repairs.

Scott Kunselman, in a separate letter to NHTSA, said "These completion rates are not satisfactory to Chrysler," and promised that the automaker would take additional measures to get parts to dealers and convince customers to take advantage of the recall.

Chrysler, which began repairing the SUVs in August, said it now has more than 430,000 trailer hitches available and could fix the vehicles faster if it could convince more owners to bring their Jeeps to dealerships.

Last year, Chrysler agreed conduct a "safety campaign" for the Jeep SUVs after initially resisting NHTSA's request.

NHTSA believes that the rear-mounted fuel tanks in the Jeep put the SUVs at a higher risk than is acceptable for explosions in rear-end collisions.

Chrysler argues that the fuel tanks are safe but agreed to conduct a recall and install trailer hitches on the Jeeps to provide additional protection.

On Thursday, Friedman sent Chrysler a letter criticized the company for taking to long to build parts

"I am concerned about ...reports showing a woeful 3% repair rate out of more than 1.5 million affected vehicles," Friedman said in the letter to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.
SOURCE
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Facts matter

April 02 2015
Facts matter



Sadly, the citizens of a southern Georgia town who performed their civic duty this week in the tragic case of a young boy’s traffic death were prevented from seeing or hearing critical evidence.

Four-year-old Remington Walden was killed when a pickup truck traveling at highway speed slammed into the rear of the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee in which he was riding. In stark contrast, the Grand Cherokee was traveling between zero and six miles per hour as its driver prepared to make a turn.

Fire ensued and plaintiffs’ attorneys argued the placement of the Jeep’s fuel tank was to blame. There is an extensive database of statistics to refute this claim, but the actual contents of this database were inadmissible under Georgia law.

Let that sink in.

FCA US LLC was allowed to tell jurors about the existence of relevant information, but not the information itself. Had a full airing the facts been conducted, jurors would have learned:

Tragedies of the same type occur more frequently in 57 other vehicles on U.S. roads
Twenty-one of the 57 have the same fuel-tank placement as the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee
None of the above vehicles was ever subject to a safety recall for fire-related rear-end crashes

So compelling is this information that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was eventually moved to drop a safety recall request leveled against the 1999 Grand Cherokee.

FCA US and its more than 14,000 employees extend their deepest sympathies to the parents of young Remington Walden. But crashes of this kind – though they occur less than one time for every million years of vehicle operation, according to unheard evidence – are a sorrowful reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
$150 Million Fine For Jeep Grand Cherokee Death

Fiat Chrysler Hit With Nearly $150 Million Fine For Jeep Grand Cherokee Death

04/06/2015

Late last week, a jury in Decatur, Georgia found Chrysler Group LLC (now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) guilty for the 2012 death of four-year-old Remington Walden. Walden died when a pickup rear-ended the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding in, which caused the Grand Cherokee to catch fire.

According to Reuters, the jury set a penalty of $150 million, of which Chrysler will have to pay $148.5 million. Chrysler subsequently issued a statement condemning the verdict. The automaker is considering an appeal.


SOURCE
 

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Jeep fixes only 4 pct. of Grand Cherokees

Jeep fixes only 4 pct. of Grand Cherokees, 27 pct. of Libertys in gas tank fire danger recall

04/14/2015

DETROIT — Nearly two years after agreeing to recall 1.56 million older Jeeps that could catch fire in rear-end crashes, Fiat Chrysler U.S. has repaired only 4 percent of the Grand Cherokees and 27 percent of the Libertys covered by the recall.

The figures were detailed in a letter from Chrysler posted Tuesday by U.S. safety regulators.

The rate is below the average of 75 percent 1 ½ years after a recall is announced. It could set up another confrontation between Fiat Chrysler and regulators.

Chrysler makes Jeeps and agreed in June 2013 to install trailer hitches to help protect the gas tanks, which are behind the rear axle and vulnerable in a crash. The company says they're as safe as comparable vehicles built at the time.


SOURCE
 
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