Marchionne Stands Confident in Chrysler Recall Rejection


Bloomberg News

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.