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Pressure Mounts For FCA Over Ongoing Jeep Recall; Advocates Claim Affected Vehicles Still Pose Threat To Public

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On: Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 11:52AM | By: Carl Malek

Pressure Mounts For FCA Over Ongoing Jeep Recall; Advocates Claim Affected Vehicles Still Pose Threat To Public

The pressure is building on FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) with advocates and safety regulators trying to persuade the company to expand and intensify its efforts to contact owners of Jeeps that are affected by an ongoing recall that addresses a potential fire risk if the vehicles are struck from behind in a crash.

According to the folks at Bloomberg.com, The Center for Automotive Safety has documented multiple incidents involving gas tank fires since FCA first announced the recall back in 2013. One of the more troubling incidents to emerge recently is the death of a pregnant woman which was possibly caused by a fire started by the leaking gas tank in her Jeep vehicle. Overall, nearly 1.6 million vehicles are affected by the campaign, but fewer than 120,000 (around 3%) have been brought in to dealerships for repairs as of November of last year. It is currently unknown if the rather lukewarm response to the recall is paritally related to the high level of controversy that is surrounding this particular recall campaign, or if it’s the slow, drawn out timeframe that is causing customers to stay away. It is important to note that low response rates for older model vehicles are not that uncommon for other recall campaigns.

Prior to the 2013 announcement of action by FCA, safety advocates had been pushing for a recall since 2009, citing hundreds of deaths from vehicle fires involving the 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty SUVs. On these particular models, the gas tank is located behind the rear axle which does not provide enough protection for the gas tank if the vehicles are involved in a rear-end crash. Chrysler initially fought the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over the issue, claiming the vehicles were perfectly safe. Eventually the company and the NHTSA settled on the installation of a trailer hitch, which was seen by both parties as the ideal solution to the problem.

While this increased pressure by advocates and safety regulators will most likely do very little to jump start consumer response to this problem, it will, at the very least, keep the recall in the minds of consumers for much longer, and perhaps spur some of the affected owners to take their vehicles in to install the forementioned trailer hitch.



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