Chrysler Group LLC, the American automaker owned by Italy's Fiat SpA (BIT:F), said on Tuesday that it won't honor the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's request that it recall as many as 2.7 million Jeep models due to issues with the vehicles' fuel systems.
The NHTSA informed Chrysler that 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee vehicles and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty SUVs have defective fuel systems and serious safety risks in rear-impact collisions.
However, Chrysler says it has worked closely with the agency and shared its data with NHTSA since September 2010.
"The company does not agree with NHTSA's conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation," Chrysler said in the statement. "The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective."
Chrysler is arguing that its analysis into alleged vehicle fires, is more complete than the NHTSA's analysis. "Our analysis shows the incidents, which are the focus of this request, occur less than once for every million years of vehicle operation."
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Some industry analysts find Chrysler's rejection to be a bold position to take. "Since Toyota was publicly humiliated for dragging its feet on recalls just a few years ago, automakers have been quick to recall vehicles at NHTSA's request," Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs said. "Unfortunately, consumers with problematic Jeeps are in limbo."