The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Chrysler a deadline of June 18 to formally respond to its request for the recall of 2.7 million model-year 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty SUVs, according to the Detroit News. The recall request, due to a problem in the fuel system that could lead to a fire in rear-end crashes, initially was refused by Chrysler; the automaker insists the vehicles meet federal safety standards for fuel-system integrity.
Depending on the automaker's response, NHTSA will decide whether to issue a formal finding and then convene a public hearing, a final step before ordering a recall, the Detroit News reported. The safety agency says Chrysler "contravened industry trends," as well as its own practices in non-Jeep vehicles by placing the fuel tanks in a vulnerable location behind the rear axle. The resulting fires were caused by gas leaking from punctured fuel tanks in rear-end crashes, causing the deaths of 51 people, the Detroit News reported.