FCA US, the former Chrysler Group, said Friday it will replace driver-side airbag inflators in as many as 3.3 million more older-model vehicles, in a capitulation to a demand by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The automaker, after a Wednesday meeting with federal regulators, said that it would replace the Takata driver-side airbag inflators in Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups; Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cabs; Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs; Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans; Dodge Magnums; Dodge Dakota and Mitsubishi Raider pickups from the 2004-07 model years.
The latest recall brings FCA’s total Takata-related airbag recall to nearly 3.7 million vehicles worldwide, the company said.
NHTSA Deputy Chief David Friedman publicly criticized FCA on Dec. 5 for not conducting the wider recall, saying the company’s refusal put “Americans at risk and defies common sense.”
Globally, more than 24 million vehicles have been recalled for Takata airbags since 2008, based on Reuters estimates.
In a statement, FCA said neither it nor Takata “has identified a defect in this population of inflators. These components also are distinct from Takata inflators cited in fatalities involving other auto makers.”
The automaker formerly known as Chrysler said that “more than 1,000 laboratory tests have been performed on these components. All deployed as intended, but FCA continues to study the suspect inflators, which are not used in the Company’s current production vehicles.”
It had previously undertaken a regional recall of the vehicles equipped with Takata inflators, but only in states and territories with high humidity, such as Florida and Hawaii.
One related injury
The automaker said it knows of one related injury involving one of its vehicles, an older-model sedan. It said the injury occurred in southern Florida where high humidity is common. FCA said high humidity is “believed to be a contributing factor in the air-bag deployments under investigation.”
The recall announced today covers an estimated 2,890,785 vehicles in the United States, 258,586 in Canada, 66,436 in Mexico, and 99,030 elsewhere.
The company said customers would be notified when they may schedule service, which will be free. It said it will prioritize replacement parts so that they are first distributed in areas marked by persistent, high absolute humidity.
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