A Georgia judge has ordered Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, to provide a videotaped deposition in a lawsuit filed by the family of 4-year-old Remington Cole Walden, who died after the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding was rear-ended and caught fire.
Chrysler said in a statement that the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in the accident met or exceeded all applicable safety standards at the time it was first sold, noting that the vehicle is not defective. In the accident, Walden was belted into a booster seat in the rear of the Grand Cherokee.
The vehicle was waiting to make a left turn at an intersection when it was rear-ended by another vehicle, according to the lawsuit. Walden died from injuries in the fire, according to the lawsuit.
Last year, Fiat Chrysler initially refused a June request by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Liberty vehicles, which according to the agency were tied to 51 deaths in a span of 15 years since their fuel tank is located between the rear axle and the bumper, where it can be punctured in a crash.
Fiat Chrysler initially refused a recall saying that the vehicles, including the 1999 Grand Cherokee, didn’t pose safety risk. Chrysler eventually agreed to a voluntary fix for 1.56 million of the Jeep models, but excluding the 1999 Grand Cherokee.
Chrysler said in the statement that the models under investigation are among the safest in their peer groups. It remarked that will provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles, in coordination with the NHTSA. [source: Reuters.com]