Recalling memories of Pintos past, Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 1993-2004 model years have come under fire (pun intended) for “a defective fuel tank design that can cause the gas tank to rupture” in a rear-end collision, according to the Center for Auto Safety. The Center for Auto Safety says fire was “the most harmful factor” in at least 55 deaths when the behind-the-axle mounted gas tanks ruptured in a crash.
The Center for Auto Safety turned over its crash test results to the government this week and is demanding it recall the estimated 2.2 million Grand Cherokees with behind-the-axle mounted gas tanks still on the road.
"For the Center for Auto Safety, this is the most dangerous vehicle on the road today and we want it recalled," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, to ABC News.
Chrysler has responded to the Center for Auto Safety’s claims, telling ABC News that the Grand Cherokee’s gas tank design “meets or exceeds federal standards” and that the Center for Auto Safety’s test was "three times as severe" as the government standard.” Chrysler continued, "rear impacts resulting in a fire are extremely rare ...[and] occur no more often in 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles than in peer vehicles."
Chrysler moved the gas tank in front of the rear axle for the redesigned 2005 Grand Cherokee, claiming that it had nothing to do with safety, instead citing an increase in cargo space for the change. The Center for Auto Safety’s findings and the gas tank design is being investigated by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), which declined to comment to ABC News.
Source: ABC News