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Chrysler refuses US government's request to recall vehicles

The Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee is seen in this undated file photo.

June 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
In a rare refusal by an automaker, Chrysler says it will not recall about 2.7 million Jeeps the government says are at risk of a fuel tank fire in a rear-end collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall request letter asking Chrysler to voluntarily recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007.

In a statement, Chrysler says the jeeps are safe and "does not intend to recall the vehicles," but will work with federal officials to resolve the dispute.

NHTSA opened an investigation into the SUVs in August 2010 at the request of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group.

The group contends that the SUVs' gas tanks, positioned below the rear bumper and behind the rear axle, could spill gasoline in a rear-end crash.

The company says the request from the government agency is based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data. According to Chrysler, the vehicles met and exceeded all requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

"The safety of drivers and passengers has long been the first priority for Chrysler brands and that commitment remains steadfast," said Sergio Marchionne, Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC. "The company stands behind the quality of its vehicles. All of us remain committed to working with NHTSA to provide information confirming the safety of these vehicles."

For more information, call the company at (800) 334-9200 or visit www.media.chrysler.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.