Chrysler is expected this week to announce it will discontinue making Jeep Liberty vehicles. The small SUVs have been popular even though they are part of a major safety investigation involving dangerous fiery crashes.
Insiders say the Liberty will be replaced by a true crossover, keeping in tune with U.S. buying trends, and will come complete with a new name that has yet to be revealed. In the interim, the Toledo North factory that makes the Liberty will close so that construction can begin for the new vehicle. During this months-long process, Chrysler employees will be laid off. However, when the new plant opens it is expected to do so at an increased capacity and with an extra shift.
Jeep Liberty model years 2002 to 2007 are currently involved in an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with Jeep Grand Cherokee model years 1993 to 2004 and Cherokee model years 1993 to 2001. The vehicles have fuel tanks located just behind the back bumper.
Consumer groups allege that the placement of the fuel tanks makes the vehicles more susceptible to engine fires when involved in rear-end crashes. Chrysler eventually moved the fuel tanks in the vehicles in question, but claimed the change had nothing to do with the problems that had been reported.
NHTSA has given no timetable for when it will reach a decision about the vehicles’ safety. If a recall is ordered, it would affected more than 5 million vehicles, making it one of the largest vehicle recalls in U.S. history.
Source: The Car Connection