Jeep under investigation in US over deadly fires
A series of older Jeep Grand Cherokees have been placed under investigation by US authorities for a construction flaw that may have caused deadly fuel fires, dpa reported.
The US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said it was looking into 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees over a possible defect in the fuel tank storage systems that cause the vehicle to burst into flames in an accident.
Jeep's parent company Chrysler on Wednesday promised to fully cooperate with the investigation and stressed that a recall of the vehicles had not yet been ordered.
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS), a consumer group which sought the NHTSA probe and launched its own investigation in 2009, argued the fuel tank lacked adequate protection and that its placement near the rear bumper made it more vulnerable during rear-impact collisions.
NHTSA said a preliminary investigation found that 55 deaths in Grand Cherokee accidents since 1992 were primarily the result of the vehicle catching fire. Of those, 13 deaths could be linked to the defect that CAS described, though authorities would not say whether a construction flaw was to blame until the probe was complete. dpa das cc aw Authors: Chris Cermak, Daniel Schnettler