With the government and Chrysler in a tug of war over the safety of older-model Jeeps, the nearly three million consumers who are driving them are left in limbo, wondering if the vehicle they depend on is safe to drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants Chrysler to recall the Jeep Grand Cherokee, model years 1993 to 2004, and Jeep Liberty, model years 2002 to 2007. NHTSA, in initial findings, says at least 51 people have 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 is refusing to recall the SUV’s, saying that government’s analysis is incomplete, and that the vehicles are safe and have no defect.