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NHTSA Concludes Investigation on Jeep Liberty, Grand Cherokee Fires

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/18/2014 Edward A. Sanchez
2002 Jeep Liberty front view 02© Provided by MotorTrend 2002 Jeep Liberty front view 02

Closing the chapter on one of the most highly-publicized disagreements between federal regulators and an automaker, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is officially closing its investigation on 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models built between 1992-2007 that were reportedly susceptible to fires in rear-end collisions, Automotive News reports. Chryslerinitially challenged the agency's findings and reiterated its statement that the vehicles were safe and complied with federal safety standards when the vehicles were built.

Chrysler's main complaint about the original NHTSA finding was that the vehicles complied with all applicable federal safety standards at the time of their production, and said it was unfair to retroactively apply updated safety standards to older models. Chrysler eventually relented on its resistance, and agreed to inspect, and if necessary, install a retrofitted structural upgrade. Although the final form of the upgrade has not been officially revealed or announced, many believe it may come in the form of a rear trailer hitch.

NHTSA Concludes Investigation on Jeep Liberty, Grand Cherokee Fires

Language from both Chrysler and NHTSA was cordial and complimentary, with NHTSA said it had "no reservations" with Chrysler's plan to retrofit models with a rear hitch, and Chrysler saying it commends the agency for its "diligence" and "shares NHTSA's commitment to safety." A full report regarding the investigation is expected to be published by NHTSA within the next few weeks.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)

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