Chrysler chose to fight, at least initially, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested in June that it recall as many as 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys. The company disputed NHTSA's claim that the vehicles posed a fire risk when struck from behind.
In the following days, speculation about the price tag for such a recall reached a fever pitch. Without specifying the remedy, one source hinted that a fix could run about $1,000 per unit, thus as much as $2.7 billion. Some industry experts were tossing around numbers like $1 billion, while most news reports put the cost at $300 million to $500 million.
The ultimate tab? $151 million.
That's how much Chrysler said it set aside after finally agreeing to launch a recall and add trailer hitch assemblies on as many as 1.56 million 1993-98 Grand Cherokees and 2002-07 Libertys that don't already have them.
The cost, which was booked in the second quarter, lowered Chrysler's quarterly profit to $507 million but allowed the company largely to walk away from the dispute.
The hitch with the hitch: While the installed assemblies add some support in low-energy collisions, they do little to address the high-energy crashes NHTSA had cited in its request for a recall.