FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2018
Contact: Grace Garver, (202) 328-7700, firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Auto Safety Renews Demand for Complete Recall
The Center for Auto Safety was pleased to see yesterday’s unanimous ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court in favor of the Walden family in their search for justice against FCA/Chrysler after the tragic death of their son Remi in a Jeep Grand Cherokee fire in 2012. As we stated in our brief to the Court, had the Center’s 2009 petition for a full recall of the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee been acted on in a timely and effective manner, Remi would likely be alive today. Instead, he burned to death at the age of four in a vehicle that should have been designed for his protection, but was designed with a plastic fuel tank located behind the rear axle.
If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had listened to the advice of its own internal experts in 2013, when they recommended the recall not only of the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but of the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty as well for the same fire risk, as many as 50 other deaths, including two just last summer in Ohio, probably would have been prevented.
Instead, in the summer of 2013, in a back room in an airport in Detroit, just weeks after career experts recommended a comprehensive approach to address this deadly defect, DOT failed. The agency’s political leadership negotiated with FCA CEO, Sergio Marchionne, to recall only a smaller group of vehicles, and approved what has again and again proven to be an ineffective “fix,” of attaching a trailer hitch to the back of the vehicle. Even Chrysler’s former Vice President of engineering testified under oath that the “tow package [which includes the trailer hitch] does not protect the [fuel] tank.”
The time has come, for FCA and NHTSA to reverse course, and get all of these vehicles off the road, and get Jeep owners into loaners, until a repair that works is available. The death count need not rise any higher.