WASHINGTON -- American Honda, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Fiat Chrysler will do "follow up" recalls of about 2.12 million vehicles with defective electronic control units that can cause airbags to inadvertently deploy, U.S. auto safety regulators said Saturday.
The recall affects about 1 million vehicles from Toyota, 374,177 from American Honda and 753,176 from Fiat Chrysler.
The affected vehicles are:
• 2002-03 Jeep Liberty and 2002-04 Jeep Grand Cherokees
• 2003-04 Honda Odyssey and 2003 Acura MDX (about 370,000 vehicles)
• 2003-04 Pontiac Vibe (made by Toyota); Dodge Viper; and Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Toyota Avalon.
The vehicles were recalled for the issue from 2012 to 2014, but automakers have found some cases of inadvertent deployment in vehicles that were fixed and the initial remedy was not fully effective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
NHTSA says about 400 inadvertent airbag deployments, but no deaths, have occurred in the affected vehicles. That includes 39 deployments that were fixed under the initial recall, which involved installing filters or wire harnesses to protect a key circuit from electrical damage, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a conference call.
The new remedy involves replacing the entire electronic control module, including the circuit involved in the inadvertent deployments, which is supplied by TRW. Rosekind said the agency is seeking additional information about the defect from TRW.
"TRW is supporting its customers in these recalls fully, and will cooperate with NHTSA and provide information to the Agency if requested," TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. said in a statement released late Saturday. The safety products supplier is in the process of being acquired by Germany's ZF Friedrichshafen AG in a deal valued at $13.5 billion. It is expected to close this spring.
Rosekind said the replacement modules won’t be fully available until the end of 2015, but the agency wants consumers who have not yet repaired their vehicles under the initial remedy to do so, and then return to their dealer a second time for the replacement module when they are available.
“This is going to be complicated for consumers because all of these vehicles were previously recalled to fix the inadvertent deployment problem. That fix does significantly decrease the chance of an inadvertent deployment but the remedy from those previous recalls is not fully effective,” Rosekind said.
“We’re urging vehicle owners who have not yet gone into their dealer to do so for the remedy, even if this means that they’re going to have to make another trip later for a more effective fix.”
The agency issued a safety advisory urging consumers to take their vehicles to dealerships for repairs. The advisory included FAQs for owners of the recalled vehicles.
Airbags have been directly or indirectly related to several million U.S. recalls in the past year. General Motors for much of 2014 dealt with a faulty ignition switch in small cars that would result in airbags failing to deploy in accidents.
And more than 24 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled globally since 2008, according to Reuters estimates. At least six deaths have been linked to faulty airbag inflators made by Takata.
NHTSA said that of the vehicles affected by today's recall, about 1 million are also covered by recalls for Takata airbags that could explode upon deployment, NHTSA said.
Rosekind said nine of the inadvertent airbag deployments also involved a ruptured Takata airbag inflator, and three of those instances resulted in injury, including one eye injury.
“This makes it especially important for consumers to take action to prevent the inadvertent deployments that could cause serious injuries,” Rosekind said.
In a statement, Honda confirmed 374,000 of its vehicles are included in the U.S. recall: "Honda has received a small number of complaints of inadvertent airbag deployment in these vehicles after the original recall repair was completed. No crashes have been reported to Honda related to this issue."
Chrysler, in its statement, said its recall would also include nearly 50,000 vehicles in Canada, about 22,000 in Mexico and more than 103,633 outside of North America.
None of Chrysler’s recalled vehicle were equipped with Takata airbags, the automaker said.
Chrysler issued a recall for the problem in 2012, and “a small number of vehicles affected by the initial campaign (approximately 0.003 percent of the total) were subject to post-repair inadvertent air-bag deployments,” Fiat Chrysler said in its statement.
“Some vehicle occupants suffered minor injuries from contact with the air bags; FCA US is aware of a single related accident.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in a statement, said: "We expect the manufacturers to get this remedy right to prevent injury to drivers and their families."
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.
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