Recent news reports show that although Chrysler recalled 2.7 million Jeeps in 2013, only a fraction of the faulty vehicles have been fixed, and Jeep fuel tank lawsuits continue to move forward for injuries and deaths caused by improper fuel tank placement.
In June 2013, the American auto manufacturer, Chrysler, agreed to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty units after numerous incidents involving fuel tank fires. Nearly two years later, the recalled models continue to raise concerns. According to a CBS report, the number of fatalities caused by fuel tank fires now rivals that of the GM faulty ignition switch recall.
The recall, which is still open, covers Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Liberty models from 2002 through 2007. The recall marked the end of a high-profile dispute with federal safety regulators about the dangers caused by the recalled units’ exposed fuel tanks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) argued that the fuel tanks in these units could rupture and cause a fire if hit from the rear. NHTSA officials cited 51 deaths caused by fiery crashes involving Jeeps with exposed fuel tanks.
Chrysler initially opposed the recall, defying the government’s request. In the end, after months of negotiation that delayed the recall, the company agreed to inspect the Jeeps in question and install a trailer hitch to protect the gas tank, but only in some cases. In a statement afterward, Chrysler denied that its vehicles were defective. It later admitted that the trailer hitch would not protect the fuel tank. Two years later, with several more fatalities caused by Jeep fuel tank fires, the company continues to deny any problems with the recalled vehicles, stating that the SUVs are safe and met all the safety standards in place at the time they were sold. Meanwhile, it is defending itself against Jeep fuel tank lawsuits.
Since the recall, 250,000 Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Liberty cars have received the “trailer hitch fix.” However, dealerships across the country continue to sell the car without a hitch, maintaining that buyers will be safe without it. Additionally, Jeep owners have reported being turned away at dealerships and told that the fix is unnecessary.
As deaths from Jeep gas tank explosions continue to mount, safety officials and consumers alike are calling for Chrysler to take responsibility and issue a full and proper recall. At least one Jeep fuel tank lawsuit has reached a verdict in recent weeks.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Jeep fuel tank accident, contact the lawyers at Lopez McHugh for a free consultation. You may be eligible to receive compensation through a Jeep fuel tank lawsuit.