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Chrysler to begin replacing Takata airbag inflators in U.S. in Dec.

  • Author:Kevin SHEN
  • Release on:2014-11-13

Chrysler Group will begin replacing potentially defective airbag inflators made by Takata Corp in more than 371,000 U.S. vehicles in early December, according to documents filed by the automaker with U.S. safety regulators.

The Chrysler vehicles, from model years 2003-2007, are among an estimated 4.2 million involved in a series of regional recalls in high-humidity regions announced in June by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in documents filed with NHTSA that Takata ""has made no determination of a safety defect"" in the inflators being studied by the safety agency, but it would nonetheless begin replacing them no later than Dec. 19.

It could start the recall in parts of Florida in early December, according to the NHTSA documents.

Takata's airbag inflators are being investigated because, if exposed to moisture or improperly manufactured, they can explode, rupturing and sending metal shards into vehicle passenger compartments. The issue has been linked to four deaths and 160 injuries.

Since 2008, more than 11 million U.S. cars equipped with Takata airbags have been recalled because of the inflator issue.

Chrysler told NHTSA that it conducted a joint investigation with Takata of the Beta inflators, including samples obtained from Florida junkyards. 

Takata's analysis showed the Florida inflators ""exhibited slightly elevated levels of moisture,"" Chrysler said.

The automaker said Takata has been conducting a series of tests on suspect inflators, including CT scans, ""live dissections"" and live deployments, while measuring performance, moisture level and other physical and chemical properties.

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