WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal safety officials have opened an investigation of 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees over concerns that defective fuel tanks could cause fires in crashes.
The investigation is in response to allegations made last year by an auto safety group that the placement of the gas tank behind the rear bumper and below the rear axle could make the SUV vulnerable to spillage during a rear end crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety says it has identified 10 crashes and 13 deaths that could be linked to the potential problem, though the safety group says there are more cases.
Jeep Grand Cherokees in model years 1993 to 2004 are covered by probe. The preliminary investigation is a first step in determining whether a recall is necessary.