Chrysler Says NO to NHTSA Recall – 2.7M Jeeps in Question

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified 2.7 million Jeep vehicles that may have a fire issue and should be recalled. Chrysler doesn’t agree and is refusing the recall. Is the NHTSA going too far or is Chrysler’s poor quality reputation holding up?

Chrysler Says NO to NHTSA Recall

Chrysler has unequivocally said NO to a NHTSA recall. Good or bad idea?

Chrysler Group LLC (see: Fiat) actually came out in front of this storm by releasing a statement prior to NHTSA notifying the public. The company says it “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,” according to their statement. states that the investigation of “1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty vehicles, which the agency says have defective fuel systems that pose an unreasonable risk to safety in rear-impact collisions.” (Sound familiar? See: Press Fleet RAM Truck Catches Fire.)

Also Auto News says, “in a related document, Chrysler argued that its analysis showed fire incidents involving the named vehicles occurred ‘less than one time for every million years of vehicle operation.'”

The NHTSA denial is really rare for automakers who usually bend to the government agency’s every whim. Why? The NHTSA has the authority to order a recall whether the automaker likes it or not. Plus, the public relations fallout and fines levied for the company is usually worse than just recalling the cars.

“Even if they believe in their hearts that a safety-related defect does not exist, a manufacturer will not get involved in a public controversy with the agency over 70,000 vehicles,” said Allan Kam, a former senior enforcement attorney at the agency told Auto News. “When you’re talking about millions of vehicles, and hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, those are the rare occasions where a manufacturer digs in their heels.”

Essentially by denying the recall, Chrysler can further deny claims from Jeep owners whose vehicles have caught fires and possibly avoid spending millions in repairs. However, if they lose this gamble, they stand to lose BIG (fines, lawsuits, brand issues, customer loyalty).

The company has for better or worse, made a stand. As the statement says, “Chrysler Group’s position on this matter is clear.” What isn’t clear is if this is a good idea.

What do you think? Has the NHTSA become a bully or is Chrysler ignoring their quality issues?

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  1. LJC says:

    Well, if one of the qualifying vehicles does catch fire because of this defect, going down in flames will be taken to a new level.

  2. Mickey says:

    Hit’em, Hit’em hard. They didn’t hold back against Toyota. Why should this be different. Even congress got involved on Toyota. Now let’s see if they can make Fiat come to congress. If NHTSA can force a recall and told Chrysler to do the recall then it should be done by NHTSA. Let the chips fall wherever. How can you rake one automanufacturer over the coals and no other one? They let Ford get away with it.

  3. mendonsy says:

    Has the NHTSA become a bully or is Chrysler ignoring their quality issues?
    I would say the answer is BOTH!!
    The Toyota gas pedal recall was a joke, but there are a lot of people still remember the famous Ford Pinto gas tank issue.

  4. Ford and Chrysler-Fiat have both told NHTSA to pound sand in the last year or so (Ford did so on the F-150 airbag issue), and the fact that NHTSA hasn’t responded aggressively is a shock.

    Let us not forget that Toyota was warned NHTSA would “hold their feet to the fire” for failing to recall some floor mats in a timely manner.

    I wonder why Ford and Chrysler-Fiat can ignore NHTSA recall advisories while Toyota has to pay multiple fines ($16 million each) for just being slow…

  5. Mason says:

    Ford just recalled 500k Fusions because the NHTSA told them to. The difference is NO Fusions have ever caught fire. Several Jeeps have. Chrysler needs to stop acting like whiney little kids and step up to the plate like all the other manufacturers did. Chrysler is scared to death about their reputation if this recall goes throught. Proof is in the pudding, Toyota has a lot more balls than Chrysler.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      What cracks me up is all the talk lately from Chrysler that their quality is on par with Toyota. I just want to ask, where’s the proof Chrysler??


  6. mk says:

    If jeeps have caught fire which it sounds like is true several of them, the govt./NHTSA should mandate a recall.

    I know if my Jeep caught fire for no good reason and was what was mentioned in the recall I’d be suing Chrysler for millions.

    I also would’ve sued the Dodge dealer who peformed faulty repair IF my wife got hurt in an accident when they did a TSB on proper torque of steering wheel bolt on dodge caravan. 2 days after in Dodge dealer for TSB, my wife backed out of the parking lot at work and the darn steering wheel fell off in her hands very easily. What would have happened if it came off while cruising in traffic? That idiot Dodge dealer should be out of business if I pursued it further no doubt in my mind. I did go back and chewed out their entire service dept. and they just let me talk since they knew they were eating crow. Last dodge I will ever buy period.

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