The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested that automaker Chrysler recall 2.7 million Jeep models that the federal agency claims are dangerous and could potentially cause rear-impact fires due to defects within the fuel system. Chrysler, however, is blatantly refusing the federal agency’s request to initiate a recall.

In the NHTSA’s letter to Chrysler, the request for the recall centered around the placement of the gas tank in the 1993-2004 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as the 2002-2007 models of the Jeep Liberty. The agency claims that the gas tank’s position, in these models, makes them more prone to catch fire in the case of a rear-impact collision. NHTSA cited data that reported 44 deaths that resulted from 32 rear-impact accidents and fires involving the Jeep Grand Cherokee, with seven deaths linked to the Jeep Liberty as well.

Chrysler challenged the agency’s Jeep defect claims, saying rear-impact fires are so rare that a recall is not needed. The company also claimed their own research on the models found no evidence to the NHTSA’s claims.

“Chrysler Group has been working and sharing data with the Agency on this issue since September 2010. The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective,” stated Chrysler, which cited its own research as evidence.

Chrysler’s refusal to recall the requested Jeep models could prove a dangerous move, negatively affecting the the company’s recently rising reputation, with the company potentially compromising it’s gains by failing to recognize a dangerous problem should more deaths and injuries be linked to Jeeps alleged rear-impact defect.

Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.