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Cherokee rollover 'not indicative'

On a roll: The Jeep Cherokee rolled over twice during an emergency handling test.

DaimlerChrysler goes on the offensive over a Jeep Cherokee crash during a severe driving test

26 Nov 2001

SENIOR DaimlerChrysler officials have reacted strongly to a report by US magazine AutoWeek that a 2002 Jeep Cherokee sustained extensive damage after it rolled over during a severe driving test, according to Reuters.

In a story posted on its internet site, AutoWeek said a current Jeep Cherokee rolled over twice toward the end of an emergency handling test on October 18.

The magazine said the Liberty was travelling about 65 km/h through a slalom course when the accident occurred.

The magazine said the test was not designed to make the SUV roll, but to evaluate its handling when driven as fast as possible through the course. The magazine has used the test regularly since 1992 and no other vehicle has ever rolled over.

But DaimlerChrysler, which produces the fast-selling SUV that made its debut in the US earlier this year, said the accident was an anomaly that did not reflect the safety of the vehicle.

Asked whether the incident would affect the Jeep Cherokee in Australia, where sales of the 2002 model began in September, Chrysler-Jeep Australia managing director Judith Wheeler said: "Obviously, we're hopeful it doesn't have an effect.

"I think the main thing for people to remember is that the 2002 Jeep Cherokee did undergo extensive vehicle dynamic evaluations and it was found to be safe in both on-road and off-roadsituations.

"Our evaluations have repeatedly shown the Cherokee performed well within the comparable sport utility vehicle exercises that are required as far as the agencies are concerned.

"The reality is that tests conducted by media or non-government organisations may not meet those requirements."But while AutoWeek admits its slalom test does not replicate common real-world conditions, it reiterates its view that sports utility vehicles do not behave the same way as passenger cars in extreme circumstances.

"There was an accident under extreme conditions that does not parallel those seen in daily driving," the magazine said.

"The incident demonstrates yet again that SUVs handle differently than do cars at the limits."Jeep engineers told the magazine that no customer or testing agency had reported a similar accident, and that it was unable to replicate the event in its own tests. A consultant hired by DaimlerChrysler blamed the accident on the pavement AutoWeek used for the test and aggressive driving.

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