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NHTSA: Chrysler to expand passenger air bag recall


12/03/2014

Washington — Chrysler Group LLC has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it will expand to a broader geographic area its recall of 371,000 vehicles at risk for exploding passenger air bags, according to the deputy chief of the agency.

Chrysler previously said it was limiting its recall to vehicles sold or registered in high-humidity areas of Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NHTSA said the limitation was unreasonable because Takata said on Nov. 10 that passenger air bag inflators pose a problem in other humid areas. NHTSA said the recall should also immediately include southern Georgia, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and areas along the coast of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

“We have heard informally that (Chrysler is) planning to expand the regions associated, but we need to look at the details,” NHTSA deputy chief David Friedman told reporters after a House hearing Wednesday.

Chrysler didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

Friedman also said he will seek to compel Ford Motor Co. to expand passenger-side air bag recalls to other high humidity areas as other major automakers — Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. — have done. “We are pushing them, and if necessary we will issue a demand that they expand those recalls as well,” Friedman said. “I am disappointed that Ford hasn’t already done so on their own.”

NHTSA said last week under federal law Chrysler is obligated “to expand its recall to include these additional areas in its current recall.”

On Tuesday, Subaru and Mitsubishi announced they were expanding their recalls. Friedman said Ford was the only automaker that hasn’t agreed or hasn’t informally told NHTSA it will expand the geographic reach of the recalls.

Ford said it was taking NHTSA’s request up Wednesday. “We have had multiple discussions with NHTSA and are cooperating with the investigation,” the company said. “We’re evaluating NHTSA’s request today,”

Chrysler agreed in June to recall 371,000 2003-2008 Dodge Rams, 2004-08 Dodge Durangos, 2007-08 Chrysler Aspens, 2005-08 Chrysler 300s, 2005-08 Dodge Dakotas and 2006-07 Mitsubishi Raiders.

Last week, under government pressure, Chrysler said it would speed notification to owners by Dec. 8 — 11 days ahead of schedule.
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Statement: Air-Bag Inflators

Statement: Air-Bag Inflators
December 3, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

Chrysler Group is voluntarily replacing front passenger-side air-bag inflators in an estimated 149,150 older-model pickup trucks in seven U.S. states and five territories to address concerns about improper air-bag deployment.

The Company is unaware of any related injuries or accidents involving these inflators in the affected vehicles. Nor has Chrysler Group observed failures in laboratory testing of its air-bag modules.

However, these inflators have been linked to two failures in vehicles produced by other auto makers. In these incidents, which occurred in Puerto Rico and southern Florida, air-bag deployment was accompanied by component ruptures.

The pickups are among nine vehicle lines subject to an earlier regional field action to replace inflators in certain cars and trucks purchased or registered in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – areas where persistent, high absolute humidity and high temperatures may adversely affect component performance.

Chrysler continues to study this issue with great urgency. At this time, data analysis indicates the front passenger-side inflators in the affected pickups represent the only additional risk outside the above-mentioned areas. The inflators are of a type that is not used in any of the other vehicles affected by Chrysler Group’s regional field action.

This new action undertaken by the Company covers model-year 2003 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups sold or ever registered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.

Chrysler Group plans to notify affected customers beginning Jan. 19, 2015. Letters will advise when they may schedule service, which will be provided at no charge.

Customers who have questions in the interim may call 1-800-853-1403.
 
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