Final Decision on Chrysler's Recall Refusal Could Have Lasting Impact

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We’ve brought you plenty of news dedicated to Chrysler’s recent refusal to comply with a voluntary recall of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty vehicles requested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  As a new report shows us, even though this move isn’t without precedent, a victory by Chrysler could call into question the NHTSA’s authority over recalls in general and lead more automakers to make similar moves.

A previous NHTSA administrator explains that a victory will bolster the NHTSA’s reputation and ability to oversee recalls.  But she also believes that a Chrysler court victory could lead to future challenges to the agency’s powers.  Other automakers might think that, if the NHTSA failed in its investigative duties or exceeded its authority once, such a thing might happen again.

The report goes on to show that Chrysler might actually benefit financially from fighting the recall even if they go on to lose the case.  A former attorney with the NHTSA explains that a lengthy public court battle would decrease the number of potential vehicles on the road, and if the company is eventually compelled to issue a recall, there would be far fewer vehicles to fix, especially considering that older model years date back to 1993.

However, the spat would take place in the public eye, something that another former NHTSA administrator explains could also take its financial toll on the agency.