So far, owners of only around 120,000 vehicles MY1993-MY1998 Grand Cherokees and MY2002-2007 Libertys have responded to Chrysler Group’s recall. As of early November, 96,449 Liberty and 22,943 Grand Cherokee owners had responded to the Chrysler’s recall letters and visited dealerships for service, disclosed spokesman Eric Mayne.
This has prompted the carmaker to further its efforts to reach owners of up to 1.6 million vehicles, who have to respond to Chrysler’s letter in August to bring in their units for inspection and possible installation of a free trailer hitch assembly.
The assembly should protect the gasoline tank in case of low-energy rear collisions. Mayne said that around a fourth of vehicles already brought in had adequate trailer hitch assemblies installed thus needing no additional service.
To better reach those who didn’t respond, Chrysler is setting up Web sites especially made to allow owners of recalled vehicles to chat live with representatives and schedule a recall service at any Chrysler dealer. Chrysler is also rolling out an expanded effort to identify the current owners of the SUVs, according to Mayne.
The installation of the trailer hitch assemblies is a part of a settlement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013 after the agency recommended a broader recall of the concerned vehicles. The agency had alleged that the Jeeps were more prone to fire in some high-energy rear-impact collisions partly since their fuel tanks were located behind the rear axle.
Chrysler, however, objected to the allegations and even refused the recall request at first. The carmaker, however, eventually agreed to install the trailer hitch as a fix. Chrysler allocated $151 million from its 2013 earnings to cover the cost of the campaign.
According to Mayne, Chrysler and its dealers have over 310,000 hitch assemblies available for Libertys and over 126,000 hitch assemblies available for Grand Cherokees, with production still ongoing.