DETROIT—After weeks of standing firm over a request to recall millions of older-model Jeep SUVs, it appears Chrysler is ready to concede its defiant position and issue a voluntary recall.
According to the Detroit automaker, it has resolved its differences with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and plans to send out notices to owners of its 1993 through 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002 through 2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles over a risk of fire during rear-end collisions.
In a brief release issued by the company, Chrysler defended the safety of the SUVs, but said it wants “to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles.”
The weeks-long standoff between Chrysler and the NHTSA came after the United States government linked 51 crash-related deaths to the popular SUVs with fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axles.
Chrysler is still standing behind the safety of the Grand Cherokee and Liberty, but said compliance is king when it comes to the safety of its customers.
“Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group,” the automaker said in a statement.
“(The company) regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families.”
As part of the recall order the automaker plans to visually inspect the estimated 2.7 million vehicles involved and, if necessary, “provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.”