Last month, Chrysler issued a recall for 469,000 SUVs after the manufacturer received 26 reports of crashes and two injuries associated with a gearshift problem. The recall affects 2005 to 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2006 to 2012 Jeep Commanders, and approximately 295,000 of the recalled SUVs are in the United States. The circuit boards of the recalled vehicles may transmit signals that may cause the vehicles to shift into neutral without warning and can increase the risk of a crash or personal injury.
On Tuesday, Chrysler refused the request of U.S. Regulators to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeep SUVs due to an alleged design flaw with the vehicles’ fuel tanks that are mounted behind the rear axle. According to NBC News, the government says “1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Liberty models have fuel tanks that can leak and catch fire in rear-end collisions.”
Although the NHTSA claims that the defects in the older Jeep models have caused approximately 51 deaths, Chrysler challenged the recall request. The manufacturer claims that the design is common in other vehicles as well, and argues that the fatal accidents associated with the vehicles were almost all at high speeds in which a different design would not have made a difference.
Yesterday, however, Chrysler announced the recall of 630,000 vehicles worldwide. The manufacturer is recalling approximately 409,000 Jeep Patriot and Compass vehicles from the 2010 and 2012 models years due to air bag and seatbelt problems. Affected vehicles may have a software error that can delay deployment of the seatbelt pre-tensioners and/or side airbags during an accident, potentially increasing the risk of injury.
Additionally, 221,000 Jeep Wranglers from the 2012-2013 model year with automatic transmissions are being recalled over concerns that “[t]he SUVS can leak fluid, damaging automatic transmissions.” According to official documents filed with NHTSA, “[t]he power steering line may contact and wear a hole in the transmission oil cooler line resulting in a loss of transmission fluid.”
Owners of the recalled Patriot, Compass, and Wrangler vehicles will be contacted in July 2013, and dealers will fix the problems at no cost to the customer. The manufacturer must respond to the NHTSA’s recall request of older Jeep models by June 18. Owners who have questions or concerns may contact Chrysler at 1-800-247-9753.