DETROIT After initially defying federal regulators, Chrysler now says it will recall some older-model Jeeps with fuel tanks that could rupture and cause fires in rear-end collisions.
But the recall covers only 1.56 million of the 2.7 million Jeeps that the government wanted repaired. The rest are part of a "customer service action" and many may not get fixed.
Still, by giving in to government pressure, Chrysler avoids a showdown with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that could have led to public hearings with witnesses providing details of deadly crashes. NHTSA says a three-year investigation showed that 51 people died in fiery crashes in Jeeps with gas tanks positioned behind the rear axle.
The deal still leaves some Jeep owners with gas tanks that NHTSA just two weeks ago said were risky. Chrysler maintains that they are safe and need no repairs.
The company will recall 1.56 million Jeep Libertys from the 2002 model year through 2007 and Grand Cherokees from 1993 through 1998. About 1.2 million Grand Cherokees from the 1999 to 2004 model years will be part of the "customer service action."