Chrysler Group has told its supplier of trailer hitches -- Northern Stamping Inc. – to boost production by 59 percent from 2,205 assemblies a day to 3,511 a day as the carmaker races to fix recalled older Jeeps. The recall was issued on Aug. 1, 2013, covering 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys to install trailer hitch assemblies on SUVs with none.
In June 2013, Chrysler agreed to recall the older-model SUVs as part of a settlement with United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the latter’s request for a broader recall. The settlement entails Chrysler having to install trailer hitch assemblies on SUVs with no factory-authorized ones.
The NHTSA initially said that at the previous production rate, Chrysler was dragging its feet on the recall, saying that at that pace, it would take nearly five years to build enough parts to conduct the action.
At the new production rate, Chrysler said it will have enough hitch assemblies to fix all the recalled SUVs by March 2015. Chrysler said that at the new build rate, it was using a more accurate estimate of vehicles to be repaired.
The assemblies are intended to mitigate the risk of fuel tank ruptures and fires in low-energy rear-impact collisions.
Earlier this month, NHTSA said Chrysler has two weeks to answer why it took almost a year for Northern Stamping to begin producing trailer hitch assemblies for around 2.5 million recalled models. NHTSA learned that the supplier didn't start producing the assemblies until May 14. [source: automotive news - sub. required]