U.S. regulators recall 2.1 million vehicles in new air bag issue

Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:49pm EST
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By Joe White

(Reuters) - The auto industry's air bag troubles deepened on Saturday as U.S. federal safety regulators said three big automakers will recall about 2.1 million older vehicles to fix defects that could cause air bags to deploy when they are not supposed to.

The vehicles involved in the recall announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are made by Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Honda Motor Co.

There have been about 400 reported cases of inadvertent air bag deployments in the recalled vehicles, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. The incidents have caused some minor injuries, but no known deaths, he told reporters.

The recall concerned a defective chip in air bag systems and the fix involved replacing the entire air bag module, including circuits manufactured by parts maker TRW Automotive Holdings, Rosekind said.

The automakers involved had issued three earlier recalls to fix the chip problems. But the NHTSA said it had reports that 39 vehicles fixed under those actions had experienced inadvertent air bag deployments, hence the new recall.

It was not related to millions of vehicles recalled over Takata Corp air bags. U.S. safety regulators have said defective Takata air bag inflators in certain vehicles can rupture and spray metal fragments inside the vehicle.

Air bag failures were also central to the controversy last year over General Motors Co's delay in recalling millions of vehicles with defective ignition switches that could unexpectedly cut off power to the safety systems.

Honda said that approximately 374,000 Honda and Acura vehicles are affected in the United States.   Continued...

The Jeep Liberty Patriotic Edition is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in this file photo taken January 6, 2002.    REUTERS/Stringer