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NHTSA Letter to Chrysler demanding answers to recall repair delay - July 2, 2014

NHTSA Letter to Chrysler demanding answers to recall repair delay - July 2, 2014

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Published by susbatt
NHTSA letter to Chrysler demanding answers about why it is taking more than a year to begin the repairs promised as part of the June 2013 recall of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles. The recall involves concerns that the rear-mounted gas tank can rupture and catch fire in some rear-end crashes.
NHTSA letter to Chrysler demanding answers about why it is taking more than a year to begin the repairs promised as part of the June 2013 recall of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles. The recall involves concerns that the rear-mounted gas tank can rupture and catch fire in some rear-end crashes.

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Published by: susbatt on Jul 03, 2014
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07/03/2014

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In re UNITED
ST TES
DEPARTMENT OF
TR NSPORT TION N TION L HIGHW Y
TRAFFIC
S FETY DMINISTR TION
1200
New
Jersey Avenue,
SE
West Building, W41-326 Washington, DC 20590 EA12-005
) ) )
HTSA Reca
ll
No. 1
3V
-252
SPECIAL
ORDER
DIRECTED
TO
CHRYSLER GROUP LLC
To: Reginald Modlin, Director Regulatory Affairs Chrysler Group LLC 800 Chrysler Drive, CIMS 482-00-91 Auburn Hill
s
MI 48326-2757 This Special Order is issued by the Secretary
of
Transportation
pur
suant to
49
U.S.C. § 30166(g)(1)(A) and 49 C.F.R. §§ 5
10
.7 and 5
10
.8
, and pursuant to a delegati
on
of
autho
ri
ty
to
the Chi
ef
Counsel
of
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ), an Operating Administration
of
the United States Department
of
Transportation. On June
18
, 2013, Chrysler Group LLC ( Chrysler
 )
notified
NHTSA
that it agreed to conduct a voluntary recall
of
approximately 1,560,000 model year ( MY ) 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty (KJ) and
MY
1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ) vehicles. Chrysl
er
further stated that it would conduct a voluntary service campaign directed at an undisclosed number
of
MY
1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee (W J) vehicles. C
hr
ysler
's
report ( Part 573 Report
 )
stated that Chrysler wo
ul
d n
ot
ify its customers
of
the safety reca
ll
for
th
e Je
ep
Grand Cherokee (ZJ) and the Jeep Liberty (KJ)
fo
ll
ow
ing the notification procedures contained in Section 577.7
of
the
 
agency s regulations, and provide six quarterly reports
of
ca
mpaign completion, consistent with Section 573.7
ofthe
agency s regulations. NHT
SA
has designated this reca
ll
as NHTSA Recall No. 13V-252. Chrysler
 s
June
18
, 2013 Part 573 Report pledged that Chrysler would provide a structural impro
ve
me
nt
to
th
e
MY
1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherok
ee
(ZJ) and
MY
2002-2007 Jeep
Li
berty (KJ)
to
mitigate the
ri
sks
of
fuel leaks in low-speed collisions.
To
that end, Chrysler stated it would take the following actions:
1.
Written notifica
ti
on to all owners inviting them to bring in their vehicles for a free inspection of
th
e rear structure
2.
For any affected vehicle that has no trailer hitch, a Chrysler trailer hitch
wi
ll
be installed free
of
charge, provided the condition
of
the vehicle can support proper installation 3. For any affected vehicle that has an aftermarket trailer hitch, the area surrounding the installation will be inspected for any evidence
of
sharp edges
or
oth
er
pun
cture
ri
sks. If any such issu
es
are identified, a Chrysler tra
il
er
hi
tch will be installed free
of
charge,
prov
ided the condition
of
the vehicle can support proper installa
ti
on
2
4. For any affected vehicle that has an o
ri
ginal equipme
nt
tra
il
er hitch installed, the ar
ea
around the insta
ll
a
ti
on will be inspected and, if no insta
ll
at
ion
pr
ob
lems are
id
entified, the ve
hi
cle wi
ll
be released. If the inspection
id
entifies an installation issue, it wi
ll
be remedied free
of
charge. Sho
rtl
y after recei
pt
of
Chrysl
er
s June
18
, 2013 Part 573 Report, Chrysler officials and members
ofN
HTSA s Office
of
Defects Investigation (ODI) began discussions centering on the effec
ti
veness
of
Chrysl
er
 s proposed remedy. Although
1
st
aff
agreed th
at
addition
of
the tra
il
er hitches would, as a general proposi
ti
on, stiffen the r
ea
r structure
of
the vehicles, remained conce
rn
ed about the
ab
ility
of
the hitches to mitigate the
ri
sk of fire in l
ow
a
nd
moderate speed rear impacts. In response to ODI s concerns, C
hr
ysler provided
draw
ings
of
the hitches and a limited set
of
test data. In
ODI s
vi
ew
, the test data provided by Chrysl
er
was
 
insufficient. However, when asked, Chrysler indicated that it
wo
uld n
ot
conduct any test
in
g or supply more data.
3
Due to concerns about the effectiveness
of
the proposed remedy, particularly in light
of
the safety risks posed by rear-impact fuel leaks and fires, NH
TSA
decided to take the unusual step
of
conducting its
ow
n test program to assess the performance
of
the hitch in mitigating the risk
of
fuel leaks and fire in rear crashes. The NH
TSA
test program, which involved a series
of
eight rear impact crash reconstru
ct
ion tests, was initiated on August 22, 20 I3 and concluded on January 2, 20
14
. After revi
ew
ing the results
of
this test
pr
ogram,
NHTSA
inf
ormed C
hr
ysler on January I3, 2014 that it did not have any reservations about implementati
on
of
Chrysl
er s
proposed remedy. Chrysler and
NHTSA
began a series
of
discussions regarding implementation
of
the remedy campaign following
ODI
s decision that testing appeared to demonstrate the effectiveness
of
the trail
er
hitch. These discussions revealed Chrysler had
wa
ited until December 6,
20\3
, to select a hitch supplier and did not issue a purchase order
to
the hitch supplier until January 29, 2014. Chrysler reported that the first run
of
hitches was produced
on
May
14
,2014. On June
II
, 2014, Chrysler reported that it would produce I,323 KJ hitches per day and 882 ZJ hitches per day and anticipated that it would have a stockpile
of
over
89,000 KJ hitches and 50,000 ZJ hitches by the Augu
st
I, 2014 reca
ll
re
pa
ir launch. Chrysler furth
er
stated that it would maintain this production schedule unless demand dictated otherwise. Chrysler s June
18
, 2013 Part 573 Report estimated that the safety recall
wo
ul
d encompass approximately l ,560,000 vehicles. In recent reports provided to ODI, Chrysler states that intends to send r
eca
ll n
ot
ification le
tt
ers to I
5
15,000 MY 1993
-1
998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ) owners and 995,000
MY
2002-2007 Jeep Liberty (KJ) owner
s.
Assuming that all
of
these

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