Jeep in safety test row

RICHARD BLACKBURN
Last updated 05:00 12/07/2012

Chrysler has been forced to issue a statement defending the safety of its Jeep Grand Cherokee after a driver from a Swedish car magazine almost rolled a vehicle during an emergency lane change manoeuvre.

In the manoeuvre, often referred to in Sweden as an "elk" or "moose" test, a Grand Cherokee lurches on to two wheels after the driver changes direction sharply.

The magazine in question, Teknikens Varld, made headlines 15 years ago when it flipped a Mercedes-Benz A-Class during a similar test. The German maker made modifications to the car as a result of the incident.

Chrysler, however, hotly disputes the findings of the test, saying the car was overloaded.

It says subsequent testing by the magazine, with Chrysler engineering staff present, could not replicate the problem.

In a statement, the US maker says:

"Advised of this event by the magazine, Chrysler Group engineers made numerous attempts to reproduce the wheel-lift in a properly loaded vehicle. Extensive testing produced no such result.

"A subsequent evaluation was conducted by the magazine July 8 in Sweden and witnessed by Chrysler Group engineers. Three vehicles performed 11 runs on a course prepared by the magazine. None reproduced the original event."

The maker says the manoeuvre is "not certified by any regulatory agency, nor is it used to establish any sanctioned safety ratings."

But it says engineers are still examining the event.

The Grand Cherokee is fitted with stability control and an electronic roll mitigation system as standard equipment, but the magazine says "it doesn't work".

In the video, the car was claimed to be travelling at 63.5kmh on an airport runway in Sweden. Magazine journalist Linus Projtz tells viewers the vehicle doesn't perform "as a modern car should".

"The car doesn't at all handle the loads built up in the chassis. The car is close to falling over," he says.

"We can only say stop selling this car, Jeep, in this specification."

The Grand Cherokee won Best 4WD in Drive's 2011 Car of the Year awards. The car was subject to several slalom and emergency swerve manoeuvres during judging and no problems were encountered.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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