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Auto blogWed, 12 Nov 2014 14:29:00 EST
Challengers come and challengers go, but the Jeep Wrangler continues to push forward even after vehicles like the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the entire Hummer brand have been shut down. Now GMC reportedly wants to take a stab at the quintessential Jeep, as well.
The news comes directly from Buick-GMC vice president Duncan Aldred, speaking with our compatriots over at Edmunds. Although Aldred said there are no plans currently on the table to expand GMC's lineup beyond the current range, "there is plenty of room everywhere in the hierarchy."
That could include a rival to the Wrangler, as well as a flagship luxury SUV positioned above the current Yukon Denali (pictured above). Just when (or for that matter, if) such models might come into fruition remains a big question mark, but it's certainly interesting to see what GM's dedicated truck brand has on the drawing board.
It's been some time since we've heard anything about fires related to the Jeep Wrangler (foreign or domestic), but it sounds like the go-anywhere SUV could be in hot water once again in China. Bloomberg is reporting that the Chinese government is ordering Jeep to investigate the matter and, in the meantime, also recommending Wrangler owners to not drive their vehicles in "extreme conditions" due to a "relatively high risk" of catching on fire.
There is no indication as to how many vehicles or which model years are affected, but the previous fire problems in both the US and China - which led to investigations but no recalls - were traced back to automatic transmission fluid leaks. The article, however, does not say what the potential problem is this time around as Jeep has not released a comment on the matter. The official notice, in Chinese, can be found here.
Facing a possible recall totaling around 2.7 million of its most popular SUVs, Chrysler remains insistent that the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty are safe vehicles. This comes on the heels of a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for these two models due to fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle, which could possibly be ruptured during severe rear-end collisions, leading to an increased risk of fire. In response to the allegations, Chrysler says that it does not agree with NHTSA nor does it plan on recalling either vehicle.
Chrysler said both SUVs "met and exceeded" the requirements for fuel-system integrity, and cooperated fully with NHTSA since the investigation was opened in 2010. While 15 deaths and 46 injuries have been reported from fires caused by rear-end collisions on these models, Chrysler is claiming that the vast majority of incidents cited by NHTSA were "high-energy crashes," including one where a stopped Grand Cherokee was rear-ended by a tractor trailer going 65 miles per hour.
The automaker wraps up by saying "NHTSA seems to be holding Chrysler Group to a new standard for fuel tank integrity that does not exist now and did not exist when the Jeep vehicles were manufactured." Scroll down for Chrysler's official response to NHTSA, but we're pretty sure this isn't the last we've heard on this issue.