Chrysler to start replacing Takata airbag inflators next month

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 13, 2014

Chrysler Group will commence early December replacing possibly faulty airbag inflators produced by Takata Corp in over 371,000 MY2003-2007 vehicles in the United States including the include the Dodge Ram, Durango, Dakota, Charger and Magnum, and Chrysler Aspen and 300, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The vehicles are among the around 4.2 million units recalled in high-humidity regions, as announced by the NHTSA in June. Chrysler said in documents filed with the NHTSA that while Takata "has made no determination of a safety defect" in the inflators that the agency is studying, it would still start replacing them no later than Dec. 19.

It added that it may commence the recall in parts of Florida early next month. The group of Takata inflators NHTSA is studying – dubbed as Beta inflators -- numbers around 37.8 million, 25 million of which are passenger-side inflators produced between 2000 and 2004 while about 12.8 million are driver-side inflators made between 2004 and 2007.

Ten carmakers – Chrysler, Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., General Motors, BMW AG, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Subaru – were involved in the June regional recalls.

NHTSA is probing the airbag inflators since once exposed to moisture or improperly built, they could explode and send metal shards into passenger compartments. So far, the airbags are tied to four deaths and 160 injuries.

Nearly a dozen carmakers have recalled over 11 million cars in the US fitted with Takata airbags since 2008. Chrysler told NHTSA that it launched a joint probe with Takata over the Beta inflators. Takata's analysis showed the Florida inflators "exhibited slightly elevated levels of moisture," Chrysler said.

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