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Chrysler airbag recall probed by U.S. regulators

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By Larry P. Vellequette, Crain News Service

DETROIT (June 3, 2014) — Chrysler Group L.L.C. may be facing a recall do-over after the fix it initiated to stop inadvertent airbag deployments in older Jeep Libertys and Grand Cherokees failed in at least six instances to fix the problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in documents filed on June 2 that it had opened a query into the 2012 recall 744,822 Jeep Liberty SUVs from model years 2002 and 2003, and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from model years 2002 through 2004.

NHTSA said it plans to study the effectiveness of the nearly 2-year-old recall, which Chrysler launched on Nov. 7, 2012.

The auto maker acknowledged in a statement that it had notified NHTSA of a half-dozen instances in which the SUV’s airbags deployed inadvertently while the vehicles were in operation after they had allegedly been fixed.

“Chrysler Group L.L.C. advised the National Highway Traffic Administration of the six reports and, in accordance with the company’s long-standing practice, is cooperating fully with the resulting investigation. Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group,” the company said in a written statement.

In 2012, Chrysler addressed the problem by installing an in-line jumper harness with an integrated electrical filter to eliminate electrical spikes that the company believed were causing the problem, according to the NHTSA documents. The safety agency had previously opened an investigation of the issue in October 2011 and three months later upgraded the probe.

In the latest six cases in the NHTSA documents, no crashes were reported, but injuries consisting of cuts and burns were alleged.

At the time of the recall in 2012, another 174,723 SUVs were affected in Canada, Mexico and outside of North America. The probe found 215 cases of inadvertent airbag deployments that resulted in 81 minor injuries in the United States but no crashes.

Reuters contributed to this report, which appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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