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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) --

It's been a record year for auto recalls. The WUSA 9 consumer team has followed the safety issues of older Jeeps for several years now.

Last June, Chrysler agreed to recall 1.6 million 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty vehicles over concerns about the placement of the gas tanks and their links to fiery deaths.

Those vehicles were supposed to be fixed with a trailer hitch designed to protect the tanks in low speed crashes. But, that hasn't happened yet.

And, just this week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criticized the company for the delay.

At the rate that Chrysler is going, the feds estimate it would take nearly five years to fix the Grand Cherokees and more than two years to fix the Liberty models.

So in a special order, NHTSA has given the company until July 16th to explain why it's taking so long.

Chrysler defends its handling of the recall process and maintains its vehicles are safe.

We will stay on this story and bring you the latest updates.

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