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Chrysler agrees to recall of Jeeps at risk of fire

  • recall_fire_061813.jpg

    This March 6, 2012 photo provided by the law offices of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer, LLP shows the scene of a crash in Bainbridge, Ga., where a 4-year-old boy named Remi Walden was burned and died when a Jeep Grand Cherokee was struck from the rear by a Dodge Dakota pickup truck. Chrysler is expected to file papers Tuesday, June 18, 2013, explaining why its refusing to recall 2.7 million older Jeep SUVs. (AP/Courtesy of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer, LLP)

  • Chrysler-Recall Refuse 660 2.jpg

    FILE - In this file photo taken Fed. 2, 2001, rows of 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokees are lined up outside the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. Chrysler is refusing a request by U.S. safety regulators to recall about 2.7 million vehicles to fix fuel tanks that could leak and cause fires in rear-end collisions.The company says it's been asked by the government to recall Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007. But Chrysler says in a statement that the SUVs are safe and not defective. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Chrysler avoided a showdown with government safety regulators Tuesday, agreeing to recall 2.7 million older Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs that could be at risk of a fuel tank fire.

Earlier this month the company defiantly refused the government's request to recall the Jeeps. But Chrysler now says it will go ahead with the recall after getting calls from concerned customers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contended that the Jeep's gas tank could rupture if hit from the rear, causing a fire. NHTSA said 51 people had died in fiery crashes in Jeeps with gas tanks positioned behind the rear axle.

The recall covers Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007.

Chrysler said Tuesday that dealers will inspect the vehicles and install trailer hitches to protect the gas tanks. The company said vehicles without hitches will get them, as will those with broken hitches or hitches that aren't from Chrysler.

In a statement, Chrysler maintained that the vehicles aren't defective, despite prior statements to the contrary from NHTSA.

Chrysler wouldn't say how much the trailer hitches would cost.