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Auto blogTue, 18 Jun 2013 16:25:00 EST
Chrysler made big news earlier in the month by refusing a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty. Last week, NHTSA boss David Strickland countered by defending his agency's request for the recall of 2.7 million Jeep SUVs. Today marked the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to NHTSA, and it seems that both parties have met in the middle with Chrysler inspecting and upgrading some of the affected vehicles without using the word "recall," which would constitute the admission of a defect; instead, Chrysler said that it is conducting a "voluntary campaign."
At issue on these vehicles is the positioning of the fuel tank behind the rear axle that could get damaged during a rear-end collision. NHTSA has stated that at least 51 people have been killed in rear-end collisions involving these Jeeps after the vehicles caught fire, to which Chrysler countered by pointing out that both models "met and exceeded" the requirements for fuel-system integrity.
As a compromise on the situation, Chrysler says that it will inspect all pre-2004 Grand Cherokees and pre-2007 Liberty models and, "if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle." According to Automotive News, this upgrade will consist of adding a trailer hitch that will presumably better protect the rear-mounted gas tank. Vehicles already equipped with a factory or Mopar hitch will not be modified. Chrysler's official statement on the matter is posted below, but no additional information has been released, such as when the campaign will begin and how many vehicles could be affected.
The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee inched its way onto the stage at the New York Auto Show today, proving that at least the "Trail Rated" version of the SUV is more than just a controversial unique odd fresh face in the mid-size segment. After the short, simulated Moab run by the Trailhawk model, the gray four-door was joined on the stage by a burgundy Limited model - the luxurious highway variant.
As a recap, the all-new 2014 Cherokee rides atop a modular Alfa Romeo-derived platform (we know it from the Dodge Dart) and will be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive models with a choice between a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (rated at 184 horsepower) and a new 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 (developing 271 horsepower) engine. A nine-speed automatic is standard and no less than three different all-wheel drive systems are available.
Of the four different models (Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk), we like the rugged looks and capabilities offered by the Trailhawk the best. Overlook the red tow hooks and check out its more aggressive wheel/tire package, flared fenders, reduced breakover angle and lack of brightwork in our gallery of live images from the New York show. Skid plates and off-road capable tires round out the package. Read all the details in the official press release below.
Let's make this very plain - the city of Toledo, OH loves its Jeeps. It loves them so fervently that the very rumor of the Jeep Wrangler moving out of its traditional home prompted the city's mayor, D. Michael Collins, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to hold a weekend conference call with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.
"The purpose of this call was for the mayor and governor to gain clarity on Mr. Marchionne's comments last week regarding the possibility of the next generation of Jeep Wrangler being built at a location other than the Toledo North Assembly Plant," a spokesman for the mayor's office told The Toledo Blade.
While no further commitments were made by any party, Collins and Kasich's statement was quite unequivocal about keeping Toledo's unwillingness to let the Wrangler go, saying "the city and its partners will again rise to the occasion to ensure that the new Wrangler is made in Toledo." According to the newspaper, the next step is for face-to-face meetings between officials from Ohio and FCA.