About 1.2 million Jeeps originally listed as part of a recall requested by federal safety authorities have been effectively excluded from the compromise between Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, TheDetroitBureau.com has learned.
A potential showdown between the Detroit automaker and the NHTSA was narrowly averted Tuesday, hours before a deadline for Chrysler to either accept or reject the recall of 2.7 million older-model Jeeps the government was seeking.
After an investigation by the NHTSA, the agency said the Grand Cherokee and Liberty models were at risk of catching fire in rear-end collisions, a problem the government linked to at least 51 reported deaths.
After initially saying it was not going to recall the vehicles and insisting there was no defect, Chrysler reversed course Tuesday afternoon and announced a settlement. Initial reports said the maker would recall the 2.7 million SUVs, including Grand Cherokees sold between 1993 and 2004, and Liberty models marketed between 2002 and 2007.
Only 1.56 million of those vehicles are actually subject to a safety recall, however; all the Liberty SUVs and Grand Cherokees sold during the 1993 through 1998 model years.
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The remaining Jeep utility vehicles, Grand Cherokees marketed from 1999 to 2004, are covered by a much less extensive "service action," according to Chrysler, which is owned by Italian automaker Fiat.