Chrysler Recalls Newer Jeeps Stands Firm on Older Models

Chrysler Recalls Newer Jeeps; Stands Firm on Older Models

Chrysler on Tuesday rejected the NHTSA's recommendation that it recall 2.7 million Jeep sport utility vehicles built in the 1990s and 2000s to fix a risk of engine fires that have left dozens dead.

NEW YORK - Two days after rejecting a push to recall old model Jeeps over a potential fire hazard, Chrysler on Thursday issued a recall for 630,000 newer models for power steering and airbag problems.

Chrysler, a unit of Italy's Fiat (IW 1000/48), will call back for repairs 221,000 2012 and 2013 3.6 liter Jeep Wranglers with automatic transmissions to fix a problem with the power steering system that can damage the transmission cooler line and cause a transmission fluid leak.

Most of the cars are in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In addition, the automaker said it will recall 409,000 2010 through 2012 Jeep Compasses and Patriots, three-quarters of them in the United States and the rest in other countries, because of a software problem that could delay or prevent the deployment of a side curtain airbag in a crash, leaving occupants of the car at higher risk of injury.

Chrysler told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it will repair the problems free of charge.

The move came after Chrysler on Tuesday rejected the NHTSA's recommendation that it recall 2.7 million Jeep sport utility vehicles built in the 1990s and 2000s to fix a risk of engine fires that have left dozens dead.

But "the company does not agree with NHTSA's conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective," Chrysler said in a statement.

The rare move to publicly reject a recall recommended by the agency did not put an end to the issue.

The NHTSA said in a statement late Tuesday that it still hopes Chrysler will reconsider "and take action to protect its customers and the driving public."

"Our data shows that these vehicles may contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety, which is why we took the next step of writing Chrysler," it said.

Chrysler said Thursday that it was still preparing its formal response to the NHTSA, which still has the option of ordering the recall.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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