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Chrysler has been targeted by the Center for Auto Safety (a consumer advocate group founded by outspoken lawyer Ralph Nader – the same one that threw the book at Chevy’s Corvair in the 1960s), about fires resulting from alleged fuel tank defects on Jeep models.
The CAS probe focuses on the original 1993-98 ZJ and second generation 1999-04 WJ Jeep Grand Cherokees and the group claims that the location of the fuel tank on these models and the lack of shielding leads to rupture in the event of rear end collisions. Since the Grand Cherokee was introduced to the market in 1992, there have been 44 recorded crashes relating to fire, of which 55 people were killed.
The CAS claims that 13 of these deaths were the result of rear end collisions. However, the center also said that these post-crash fires, on their own do not establish a manufacturing defect with the vehicles, hence further investigation is needed.
Noted Michael Palese, a spokesperson for Chrysler, “our company is cooperating fully with the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration in this investigation.” He also stated that it is just that, “an investigation, not a recall.”
Source: [Bloomberg Businessweek]