NHTSA Investigates Jeep Gas Tank Fire Risks
Chrysler workers work on the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee as it moves along the assembly line at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan [AP]
August 25, 2010
The National Highway Traffic Safety administration has opened a preliminary investigation of about 3 million 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees after a petition from safety advocacy group Center for Auto Safety.
The CAS alleges in its petition that the placement of the Jeep’s plastic gas tank behind the rear axle and below the rear bumper make it a fire risk in a rear-end or rollover crash. NHTSA has 12 reports of post-crash gas tank leaks, 10 involving fires with nine injuries and one death.
Chrysler spokesman Mike Palese told the Detroit News that the company is cooperating, but added: “The 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety (standards) and has an excellent safety record.”
NHTSA did not disagree, noting in granting the petition, that “the existence of these post-crash fires does not, by itself, establish a defect trend” and also noting that a review of its Early Warning Reporting (EWR) data “did not find the subject vehicles to be over-represented for post-crash fires.”
But in the post-Toyota era, no one wants to look asleep at the wheel.
Here is the NHTSA defect investigation posting:
NHTSA Action Number: PE10031 Make: JEEP Model: GRAND CHEROKEE Manufacturer : CHRYSLER GROUP Year : 1993-2004 Vehicles: 3,037,000 (Estimated) Component : FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:FILLER PIPE AND CAP FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:DELIVERY:HOSES, LINES/PIPING, AND FITTINGS
Date Investigation Opened : August 23, 2010 Date Investigation Closed : Open