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Chrysler Disputes Recall Of 2.7 Million Jeeps

Published June 5, 2013
Just yesterday I wrote a blog explaining why automobile manufacturers have become so proactive about issuing recalls without even being compelled to do so by their government regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  So imagine my surprise when the news today is that Chrysler is disputing an NHTSA mandated recall on 2.7 million Jeep units.  

The NHTSA alleges that a design defect on the vehicles in question (1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee models and 2002 to 2007 Jeep Liberty models) cause their gas tanks to ignite when subject to a rear impact collision.  Chrysler's position is that it met the minimum standards at the time, and moreover, there is no evidence of more fires resulting from rear impact collisions on the models subject to the recall than on other vehicles built during the periods in question.

Presumably, the cost to Chrysler of performing this recall is astronomical.  The NHTSA is alleging over 50 deaths resulting from this purported defect, which amounts to a whole lot of potential civil liability, probably in the tens of millions of dollars.  One has to assume that if the cost of performing the recall was less than the expected cost of future products liability actions, Chrysler would avoid a fight with its regulator and repair the cars in question.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out. 

From a New York Lemon Law perspective, at least as it pertains to new cars, there is little impact to our clients.  The 4 year statute of limitations has undoubtedly passed on all of the subject vehicles.  However, the dynamic at play here, in general, is worth keeping an eye on, as it may impact the way manufacturers and the NHTSA deal with safety issues in the future.

Eugene Krukas, Esq.

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Suite 4

Bellmore, NY 11710

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