The Center for Auto Safety is asking top officials at the Chrysler Group and its parent company, Fiat, to recall about five million vehicles. The nonprofit consumer advocacy group said, “Children are dying in Jeeps in rear-impact fires.”
In a letter to John Elkann on Wednesday, Fiat’s chairman, the center cited the deaths of three children since 2006 in fires that occurred when the Jeeps in which they were riding were struck from the rear.
The Center for Auto Safety has also been urging, since 2009, a recall of 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees, saying the vehicles have two problems. The first is a gas tank behind the rear axle and somewhat below the bumper, in an area that safety engineers call a crush zone. Chrysler moved the tank in front of the rear axle when it redesigned the vehicle for the 2005 model year, but a company spokesman said the move was not related to concern about fires.