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  • Includes Grand Cherokee and Liberty models
  • Affects 2.7 million vehicles
  • Addresses higher-than-normal risk of fire in a rear-end collision

Chrysler reached an agreement today with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that regulates passenger vehicle safety. The automaker will recall 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models to address an increased risk of fire.

Just weeks ago, Chrysler said it would not conduct a voluntary recall as recommended by NHTSA. The automaker insisted that the two models met or exceeded all safety requirements at the time they were built and were among the safest vehicles in their respective classes. They also said that the NHTSA's findings are "based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data."

But Chrysler has now conceded. The automaker agreed to the recall, which will affect about 2.7 million vehicles.

The increased risk for fire, according to the NHTSA, comes from the plastic fuel tank mounted between the rear axle and rear bumper on the Liberty and Grand Cherokee. The agency says that the tank presents a higher-than-normal risk for rupturing in a rear-end collision, which could cause a fire.

Chrysler will inspect each recalled vehicle and, if necessary, will reinforce the rear structure to "better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts."

As with all recalls, the inspection and any remedial work will be performed at no charge to the vehicle's owner.

The concession by Chrysler on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty recall will likely reassure current and future Jeep and Chrysler customers that the automaker stands behind its products.

"Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families," the automaker said in a press release announcing the recall.

Chrysler has not yet announced a schedule for the recall campaign. Any Grand Cherokee and Liberty models on dealers' lots must be inspected and, if necessary, repaired before being eligible for sale.

What it means to you: Chrysler initially refused to recall 2.7 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models for risk of fire. But now the automaker has agreed to the voluntary safety recall to address the risk.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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