A mere two days after shutting the door on the government’s request to recall 2.7 million older-model Jeeps, Chrysler has decided to issue two other safety recalls for airbag and seatbelt defects. According to a news report in The Associated Press, the automaker will recall more than 409,000 Jeep Patriot and Compass small SUVs across the globe from the 2010 and 2012 model years to fix airbag and seatbelt defects. Chrysler is also recalling 221,000 Jeep Wranglers worldwide from the 2012 and 2013 models to fix transmission fuel leaks, according to documents posted Thursday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) web site, Associated Press reports.
Software Errors and Transmission Issues
In the Patriot and Compass vehicles, a software error could cause the delayed deployment of the side airbags and seatbelt tightening mechanisms, issues that could result in serious injuries for vehicle occupants in the event of a rollover crash. When the recall begins in July, dealers will repair the software at no cost to consumers.
In the Jeep Wranglers with 3.6-liter V-6 engines, Chrysler says a power steering fluid line can wear a hole in the transmission oil cooler line. In these vehicles, the SUVs can leak fluid, damaging automatic transmissions. When the recall begins in July for these vehicles, dealers will inspect the lines and either replace them or install a protective sleeve for free. Chrysler says, so far, there have been no injuries or crashes reported in connection with any of these defects.
Chrysler’s Tough Stand
Before issuing this recall, Chrysler refused a request from NHTSA to recall 2.7 million older Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs for fire hazards saying that they are safe and met federal safety standards when they were built. Government investigators said the 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Liberty models have fuel tanks that can leak and catch fire in rear-end collisions. The fuel tanks on these vehicles are mounted behind the rear axle, which NHTSA engineers have characterized as a design flaw.
Duty of Automakers
All manufacturers have a duty to make products that are safe for consumers. When a product has flaws – be it due to manufacturing or design issues – it is the duty of that manufacturer to issue a safety recall. It is also their legal obligation to consumers to do so. Anyone who has been injured as a result of an auto defect would be well advised to contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer who has fought and continues to fight against large automakers such as Chrysler and helped injured victims and families obtain justice and fair compensation for their significant losses.