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Chrysler expands air bag recall, only includes trucks

December 3, 2014

(REUTERS) – Chrysler Group has told regulators it will expand a U.S. recall of vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, but stopped short of including all models regulators wanted included, a company statement issued on Wednesday shows.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wanted Chrysler to expand the areas in a June recall of about 371,000 Dodge, Ram and Chrysler brand cars and trucks from model years 2003 to 2007.

Chrysler chose to expand the recall only for model year 2003 Ram pickup trucks. Chrysler said in a statement the expanded areas for the recall impacts 149,150 pickup trucks, some of which were included in the June recall.

“At this time, data analysis indicates the front passenger-side (Takata air bag) inflators in affected pickups represent the only additional risk outside” the June recall region covering Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Chrysler said in a statement.

NHTSA Deputy Director David Friedman said last week in a letter to Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Chrysler Group and its parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles , to expand the recall areas for all models recalled in June.

NHTSA was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon to respond to Chrysler’s action.

Chrysler was among 10 automakers who began in June to recall older model vehicles equipped with Takata passenger-side air bags in areas with high humidity including Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Chrysler is expanding the recall for its 2003 model year pickup trucks to include Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana,Mississippi, Texas, American Samoa, Guam and Saipan.

NHTSA says that defective Takata air bag inflators in certain vehicles can rupture and spray metal shards.

Chrysler said it is not aware of any injuries or accidents in the affected vehicles nor have its laboratory tests yielded any failures.

In the congressional hearing on Wednesday, Takata quality chief Hiroshi Shimizu said faults in manufacturing of air bag inflators caused some to become defective when exposed to high humidity over an extended period.

Friedman said Honda Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co had already expanded the recall to include the wider area.