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Safety agency says Chrysler recall too slow

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 2, 2014 at 5:14 pm •  Published: July 2, 2014

At least part of the delays may be attributed to NHTSA testing the trailer hitch remedy. The agency did crash tests to determine if the hitches would work, and on Jan. 13, it told Chrysler that it had no reservations about the fix.

The company says NHTSA has had full knowledge of its work on the recall and that the company complied with all federal regulations. Chrysler is confident that it will be able to produce enough hitches to satisfy demand, and there could be some sort of misunderstanding with NHTSA, spokesman Mike Palese said.

Chrysler maintains that the SUVs are not defective and says it agreed to the trailer hitches because the matter "has raised public concern."

But Clarence Ditlow, head of the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research, said in a letter to NHTSA Wednesday that the agency should immediately force Chrysler to speed up the recalls. While NHTSA and Chrysler argue, four more people have been killed and two more seriously burned in Jeep fire crashes, according to Ditlow.

Affected customers have been told the recall and service campaigns are coming. The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company, now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, said it will contact them again "when the time is appropriate to schedule service."

Automakers have 60 days from when they notify NHTSA of a recall to contact vehicle owners. But aside from that, there's no hard deadline on when repairs have to be finished. NHTSA monitors recalls for at least 1 ½ years to make sure they are progressing.