Until this week, Chrysler said it would not recall older Jeep models that NHTSA asked them to recall. Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety had asked Fiat and Chrysler to recall Jeep models with gas tanks located behind the rear axle because they tend to burst into flames in rear impact collisions. The Center's letter explains the sorry history. There have been 349 FATAL fire crashes of 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees, 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Libertys that have resulted in 478 deaths, of which at least 157 were deaths due to fire.
Under pressure, Chrysler agreed to a recall. The fix involves installation of a trailer hitch to help absorb impact to the rear of the Jeep. The NY Times report is here.
Clarence Ditlow, interviewed by Automotive News, said the fix would be less than $100 per vehicle.
Jenelle Embrey who witnessed a fatal Jeep crash where a boy was rescued only to watch his mother burn to death in a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee has started an online petition to recall the Jeeps.
Since Chrysler moved the gas tanks from behind the rear axle in 2005 for the Grand Cherokee and 2008 for the Liberty there has not been a single confirmed death in those later models.
The federal safety agency opened an investigation in June 2012, but so far no recall has resulted.