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Up to 1.56 Million Jeep Owners Will Get Free Trailer Hitches

2007 Jeep Liberty (Chrysler Group LLC)

Chrysler Group has agreed to honor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s request to recall Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs, but only after NHTSA cut the number of affected Jeeps from 2.7 million to 1.56 million. The automaker says in a blog post that it “will conduct a voluntary safety recall of 1.56 million 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty vehicles for supplemental improvement in low-speed crashes.” The fix? A trailer hitch assembly, which Chrysler says will “better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.”

[RELATED: Chrysler Has Limited Time to Respond to NHTSA Recall Request]

Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs that already have trailer hitches will be inspected and the hitch will be replaced if necessary, but Chrysler says that Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs with factory-installed or Mopar-branded trailer hitches probably won’t need to be replaced. 

Chrysler’s recall excludes about 1.1 million 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee SUVs, which were part of NHTSA’s original recall request. The automaker will perform a customer satisfaction action on these SUVs, inspecting and replacing aftermarket trailer hitches if necessary. However, owners without trailer hitches, as well as those with Mopar or factory-installed hitches, do not need to bring their SUVs in for inspection.

[RELATED: Chrysler Denies NHTSA’s Request to Recall 2.7 Million Jeep Vehicles]

USA Today reports that NHTSA says the Jeeps in question are prone to life-threatening fires after rear-end collisions, but Chrysler maintains that the vehicles in question are safe and defect-free. Additionally, USA Today says that Chrysler does not have to say the recalled SUVs are defective, which “will help Chrysler defend itself in any lawsuits over those Jeeps.” 

CNNMoney reports, “Chrysler still faces liability risks in numerous wrongful death suits. NHTSA says there have been [at] least 37 accidents that caused fires and resulted in at least 51 deaths.”

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