Chrysler Won't Recall 2.7 Million Jeeps

The U.S. government says older model SUVs are at risk of catching fire in rear-end crashes.
2:35 | 06/05/13

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Transcript for Chrysler Won't Recall 2.7 Million Jeeps
the next half hour. One of the most significant car recalls since the ford pinto. And a major alert for everyone on the roads. The u.S. Government says millions of jeeps are at risk of catching on fire in rear end crashes. The recall is based on what government experts say is a deadly fire hazard that has left an estimated 51 people dead. Abc's lisa stark joins us now from washington with the latest. Good morning, lisa. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Well, this morning chrysler is refusing to recall those vehicles. Nearly 3 million of them to add extra protection around the fuel tank which sits near the rear of the vehicle. It's a recall that could cost chrysler hundreds of millions of dollars. At least 51 people have died in fiery crashes involving the older model jeeps according to the government. It says the problem is the fuel tank sits behind the rear axle and slightly below the bumper, vulnerable to puncture. The government says in its initial findings that the defects present an unreasonable risk because people have burned to death in rear impact crashes. A recall would involve 2.7 million older model jeep grand cherokees and jeep liberties. These crash tests done by engineering students show the danger, simulated fuel spilling from the grand cheer question, chrysler claims the tests were too severe. But the government points to accidents like this one on a virginia highway last october when a tractor trailer slammed into the back of a jeep grand cherokee stopped in traffic. The jeep smashed into the car carrying harry hamilton and his daughter. Hamilton was able to rescue an 18-year-old from the burning jeep but not two others. The fire spread too quickly. And then it just roared. It all happened in probably 20, 25 seconds. Reporter: This morning chrysler insists that the vehicles are safe and are not defective and no recall is necessary. The bottom line is dollars. This recall will cost chrysler $300 million but that's a small price to pay to save the lives of kids dying in fire crashes in jeeps. Reporter: Now, chrysler is also insisting this morning that the government's analysis which has been going on for nearly three years is incomplete and it says that it -- it says the cars are safe and they meet all government standards. If chrysler refuses to budge, well, then the government may have to sue to force this recall.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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