The Center for Auto Safety is demanding the
government recall 2.2 million Jeep Grand Cherokees,
model years 1993 through 2004, because of what
they say is a defective fuel tank design that can cause
the gas tank to rupture in a crash.
“For the Center for Auto Safety, this is the most
dangerous vehicle on the road today and we want it
recalled,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of
the advocacy organization.
The Center says that at least 55 people have died in
crashes where fire was “the most harmful factor.”
This week the center turned over to the government
new crash test results that it says show gas tests
failings in rear-end impacts. Ditlow said the problem
is that the fuel tank is located behind the rear axle.
“You can have the tank itself rupture, you can have
the filler hoses pull off as they did in some of our
crash tests, and it’s just a terrible design,” Ditlow told
Chrysler disputes the Center for Auto Safety’s test
results, telling ABC News, the test was “three times as
severe” as the government standard and that the
vehicle meets or exceeds federal standards.
The company added, “rear impacts resulting in a fire
are extremely rare …[and] occur no more often in
1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles than in
New Jersey mom Susan Klein died in a Cherokee when
it burst into flames after she was rear-ended. Her
husband, Tom Kline, spoke to ABC News affiliate
WTVD in Raleigh, N.C.
“Imagine someone you’ve been with, that you’ve loved
dearly for 33 years being burned to death. It’s just
not a good picture.”
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA),
which is investigating the vehicle’s safety, declined to
comment on the crash test.
Chrysler changed the Cherokee’s design in 2005,
moving the fuel tank in front of the rear axle. It says the
change was made to expand cargo space and had
nothing to do with safety.