It’s the identical security problem that saddled Ford’s Pinto with a infamous legacy that continues to this present day, and Jeep can’t appear to place it in its rear-view.
In 2013, on the urging of the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration, Fiat Chrysler Vehicles issued a recall for 1.56 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs to appropriate a severe flaw. The automobiles’ gasoline tanks, positioned between the rear axle and bumper, had confirmed particularly weak to rupturing in rear-end collisions. A complete of 26 deaths had been recorded on the time of the recall.
After putting in trailer hitches on every affected automobile, FCA felt it had the difficulty effectively in hand. Sadly, the fires continued, as did the deaths. Now, it’s occurred once more.
In keeping with Bloomberg, Vicki Hill, 58, died this week after her 2007 Jeep Liberty burst into flames after being rammed from behind by a Buick. Hill’s automobile was stopped at an Ohio intersection on the time. The Liberty in query — among the many latest of the recalled automobiles — was outfitted with a trailer hitch, FCA data present.
FCA’s recall lined Libertys constructed from 2002 to 2007, plus 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees. Not surprisingly, information of Hill’s dying has security advocates claiming Jeep’s recall didn’t repair a lethal drawback.
The Ralph Nader-founded Middle for Auto Security, a D.C.-based nonprofit group, is renewing its requires a brand new investigation into the fires. “Our worry then and our worry immediately stays to be that the repair just isn’t enough,” CAS government director Jason Levine instructed Bloomberg.
The group started calling for an investigation in 2011 after three CAS-commissioned assessments carried out on mid-90s Grand Cherokees revealed an inclination for gas tank rupture in 50-mile-per-hour rear-end collisions. A Ford Explorer of the identical classic held up after a 70 mph impression from a Ford Taurus take a look at automobile. Two years later, CAS introduced the NHTSA with a white paper illustrating its considerations over the Grand Cherokee and Liberty.
By this time, the affected fashions had been on their solution to a recall. FCA redesigned the Liberty for the 2008 mannequin 12 months, and its Grand Cherokee had lengthy since relocated its gas tank forward of the rear axle. Nevertheless, the previous automobile remained, now outfitted with an answer CAS referred to as “insufficient.”
Following the recall, former CAS Govt Director Clarence Ditlow instructed The New York Instances that the automobiles remained weak. In its letter to the NHTSA, the automaker claimed the center-mounted hitch would “incrementally enhance the efficiency of sure of the topic automobiles in sure sorts of low-speed impacts.” Ditlow argued the tanks had been nonetheless prone to angled rear-end crashes. Additionally, heavy braking might trigger the impacting automobile’s nostril to dive underneath the Jeep’s excessive rear bumper.
It isn’t recognized how briskly the Buick that hit Hill’s Liberty was travelling on the time of impression. The NHTSA, which closed its investigation in 2014, claims it’s monitoring the difficulty and “will take motion as acceptable.” CAS started calling for an additional federal investigation early final 12 months.
When contacted by Bloomberg, FCA spokesman Eric Mayne issued condolences on behalf of the corporate. Nevertheless, barring NHTSA intervention, the hearth problem appears closed. “The 2007 Jeep Liberty meets or exceeds all relevant federal security requirements,” Mayne mentioned, “together with those who take a look at fuel-system integrity in rear impacts.”
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