In most cases, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks a company to voluntarily issue a recall, compliance isn’t far off. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1996 to find an instance where an automaker decided to challenge the directives of the agency.
Chrysler was at the center of that legal dispute, which found the company arguing that they didn’t have to recall 91,000 vehicles that may have suffered from a seatbelt issue. They won the case after two years of litigation. Now, the same automaker is at the center of another dispute about whether or not vehicles should be recalled.
This time, the NHTSA has asked the Fiat-owned Chrysler to recall a whopping 2.7 million vehicles. The agency has grown concerned that the placement of the gas tank on the automobiles in question leaves the vehicles privy to a greater risk of a fire or explosion during a rear-end collision.
If the NHTSA were to get its way, then Jeep Libertys of the 2002 through 2007 model years would be recalled, as would Grand Cherokees of the 1993 to 2004 model years. Chrysler argues, though, that the current placement and design of the gas tank is no more hazardous than accepted designs common in other automobiles.
The Center for Auto Safety estimates that 338 fatalities have occurred in conjunction with the aforementioned vehicles because of a fire or rear-end collision.