Air-bag and seat-belt defects spurring recall tied to at least three deaths
PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV recalled 1.9 million vehicles world-wide for possible air-bag and seat-belt failures linked to at least three deaths and five injuries.
The Italian-U.S. auto maker said Thursday that vehicles equipped with a certain occupant restraint control module and front-impact sensor wiring with a specific design can fail to activate air bags and seat-belt restraints in some crashes.
Fiat Chrysler no longer uses the parts found in the affected vehicles, the company said. Fiat Chrysler said it was “aware of three fatalities and five injuries that may potentially be related to this condition.”
Affected vehicles include 2010 Chrysler Sebring, 2011-2014 Chrysler 200 and 2010-2014 Dodge Avenger midsize cars; 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber compact cars; and 2010-2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass sport-utilities.
In Mexico, 2010 Chrysler Cirrus compact cars are included. Outside North America, 2012-2013 Lancia Flavia midsize cars are affected.
General Motors Co. last week recalled nearly 4.3 million of its vehicles with defective software that can cause air bags and seat belts to fail, a problem the Detroit auto maker tied to one death and three injuries. GM spotted the problem through an internal program that encourages employees to sound alarms on safety problems in the wake of the company’s failure for more than a decade to recall millions of older cars withdefective ignition switches now linked to 124 deaths. In GM’s case, a sensing diagnostic module in affected vehicles can improperly activate a test under certain circumstances that prevents air bags and seat-belt restraints from deploying.
With Fiat Chrysler’s latest recall, the company indicated the issue hampering air-bag and seat-belt pretensioner deployment has occurred in frontal collisions with the affected vehicles. The company hasn’t so far found problems with the safety devices malfunctioning in side or rear collisions.
Fiat Chrysler uncovered the problem analyzing crashes and collecting data from vehicles, the company said.
Fiat Chrysler is among auto makers facing unprecedented scrutiny from regulators for safety lapses. The auto maker last year suffered financial penalties for recall lapsescovering millions of vehicles, including older Jeeps with rear gas tanks linked to fatal fires in rear-end collisions.