The Center has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recall all 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees because the placement and design of the fuel tank are faulty and pose a significant safety defect with the SUV. Government data analyzed by the Center shows that drivers of Jeep Grand Cherokees manufactured from 1993 through 2004 were four times more likely to have been killed by a fatal fire during a crash than drivers of other sport utility vehicles.
The main problems are that the fuel tank is made of plastic, is not covered by any type of metal sheild or casing, and is placed behind the rear axle — making it much more likely to be ruptured and catch fire or explode in a rear-end collision than if it were placed in front of the rear axle. Most of Jeep’s competitors, having learned the lesson of the Ford Pinto, place the fuel tank in front of the rear axle. Daimler-Chrysler could have located the fuel tank forward of the rear axle like its competitors, but it chose not to.
Commentary by Shawn Cantley, an auto defect attorney who handles crash-worthiness cases against auto manufacturers:
“After reaching settlements with several victims and families of victims of Grand Cherokee fires — settlements for which Daimler-Chrysler demanded confidentiality — it moved the fuel tank forward of the rear axle beginning with the 2006 Grand Cherokee. However, approximately 3 million of the defectively designed Grand Cherokees remain on the road and Chrysler refuses to recall them or accept that there is anything dangerous with the 1993-2004 models.”
Anyone wishing further information about Jeep Grand Cherokee fires can contact Shawn Cantley by filling out our consultation form.