Just to quickly recap: first the company sought (and received) immunity from future product liability suits involving all Chrysler cars on the road when it filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, claiming the alternative would be “liquidation of the company.” Then, after receiving considerable pressure from consumer groups, the company decided liquidation was not its only alternative after all—and it could afford to accept responsibility for the accidents caused by its defective cars, but only if the accident occurred after the date of the bankruptcy (thumbing its nose at hundreds of loyal customers with injury suits already pending).
Now, the Center for Auto Safety is petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall some three million Chrysler Jeep Cherokees from model years 1993-2004, after the group’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System revealed that the vehicles have “a fatal crash-fire occurrence rate that is about four times higher than S.U.V.’s made by other companies.”
Specifically, the group’s petition says, “the plastic fuel tank on 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees is not adequately protected from a rear impact because it is behind the rear axle. The petition goes on to say, “The design is so bad that Chrysler frequently settles lawsuits without extensive discovery and subject to confidentiality agreements.” The Grand Cherokee underwent a redesign in 2005, which involved putting the fuel tank in a safer location. But as the petition points out, some victims of this horrible defect still have no recourse, noting “New Chrysler still refused to accept responsibility for victims like Susan Kline whose tragic crashes occurred prior to the bankruptcy....”
Congress must fix this situation so families like those of Susan Kline can get justice and proper compensation from this company.