Marchionne Stands Confident in Chrysler Recall Rejection

Chrysler Group LLC makes an unusu­al deci­sion to buck what would be one of the largest U.S. auto recalls, reject­ing the NHTSA’s recall of 2.7 mil­lion Jeeps.

Find out what CEO Ser­gio Mar­chionne and ana­lysts have to say.

Chrysler Group LLC’s unusu­al deci­sion to buck what would be one of the largest U.S. auto recalls shows how much the com­pa­ny has at risk in rep­u­ta­tion, per­haps more than mon­ey.

The U.S. Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion, in ask­ing Chrysler yes­ter­day to recall 2.7 mil­lion Jeep Grand Chero­kee and Lib­er­ty sport-util­i­ty vehi­cles made over 15 mod­el years, linked them to 51 deaths in fires after rear-end col­li­sions.

Ser­gio Mar­chionne, chair­man and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of Chrysler and its major­i­ty own­er, Italy’s Fiat SpA, said the Auburn Hills, Michi­gan-based automak­er “stands behind the qual­i­ty of its vehi­cles.” Chrysler in a report called the SUVs “among the safest vehi­cles of their era.”

Michelle Krebs, a senior ana­lyst for auto-researcher, called the reac­tion “high­ly unusu­al,” par­tic­u­lar­ly after Toy­ota Motor Corp. under­went mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions and hear­ings after resist­ing recalls over unin­tend­ed accel­er­a­tion.

“It’s unusu­al for a com­pa­ny to push back so strong­ly against a reg­u­la­tor, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to safe­ty and their brands,” Mike Rozem­ba­jgi­er, vice pres­i­dent of ExpertRe­call, an Indi­anapo­lis-based com­pa­ny that works with com­pa­nies to man­age prod­uct recalls.

NHTSA hopes that Chrysler will recon­sid­er its posi­tion and take action to pro­tect its cus­tomers and the dri­ving pub­lic,” Admin­is­tra­tor David Strick­land said in an e-mailed state­ment.

Chrysler said in its state­ment that all the vehi­cles under scruti­ny meet or exceed fed­er­al safe­ty stan­dards, includ­ing those relat­ing to fuel-sys­tem integri­ty. The com­pa­ny coop­er­at­ed with NHTSA’s review, pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion and analy­ses, it said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Deal­er Digest Dai­ly will do a com­plete review of the Chrysler Jeep recall and rejec­tion in the Smart Think­ing sec­tion on June 4 and 6.



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