Nowadays, most vehicle recalls are done on a voluntary basis and it is rare for an automaker to reject the government's request for a recall. But, that is exactly what Chrysler has chosen to do.
Safety watchdogs say Jeeps have been bursting into flames after rear-end accidents due to poor design. After a three-year investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agreed and asked Chrysler to recall nearly 3 million 1993 to 2004 model year Grand Cherokees, and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Libertys.
Chrysler argues its Jeeps are safe and the government is applying unreasonable standards to its vehicles. The company maintains that the vehicles have no defects and that rear-end impact gas tank fires are rare. But, what does Chrysler tell the grieving families of those killed in Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicle fire accidents? “Rare” doesn’t cut it when a loved one dies in a horrible gas tank fire in a vehicle they trusted to be “safe.”
Ironically, Chrysler opted to move the Jeep Grand Cherokee gas tank during a redesign in 2005. They did the same for the Liberty in 2008. The company denies this change had anything to do with the concern regarding the rear impact fire safety however there have been no confirmed rear impact fire deaths since the redesign. You be the judge!
Is this another case of corporate greed; profits over people? Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said "This is the most callous decision I've seen ever seen by a manufacturer, even more than the Pinto (scandal)."
Chrysler has until June 18 to respond to the government's request. Refusal to recall these vehicles could end up in a lengthy battle between NHTSA and the automaker. Unfortunately, consumers are left waiting. Are they in danger because Chrysler will not perform any repairs free of charge while the case is pending? If owners take their vehicle in for repairs after NHTSA's decision to order a recall, but before the case is finally decided, the law will not require the manufacturer to reimburse them for that repair work. Only if, and when, the court rules against the manufacturer, may owners be entitled to reimbursement.
Lawsuit Financial hopes Chrysler will reconsider and take action to protect its customers and everyone on our roadways. We urge the company to act responsibly and affirmatively on the chance that these vehicles will to become the new symbol of auto safety compromise.
Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.