Fiat Chrysler recalling 1.9 million cars for new air bag defect
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Thursday it is recalling 1.9 million vehicles worldwide for an air bag defect linked to three deaths and five injuries.
It is the latest in a series of large-scale air bag recalls, as the auto industry grapples with a widening array of problems from potentially unstable inflators to bad software.
The Fiat Chrysler recall involves non-deployment of air bags and seat-belt pretensioners in some crashes. It affects 1.4 million U.S. vehicles sold between 2010 and 2014, including the Chrysler Sebring, 200, Dodge Caliber, Avenger, Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs.
"There is a hypersensitivity now in the industry to vehicle safety," said Scott Upham, of Valient Market Research. Automakers continue to tweak air bag software, he said, noting that there is "a fine line between telling the bag when to deploy or not" in some situations.
Last week, General Motors Co said it would recall nearly 4.3 million vehicles worldwide due to a software defect that can prevent air bags from deploying, a flaw already linked to one death and three injuries. That defect is similar but not identical to the Fiat Chrysler issue.
Fiat Chrysler said the problem occurred when vehicles equipped with a particular control module and specific front impact sensor wiring are involved in certain collisions.
GM said in its recall that the module that controls air bag deployment has a software defect that may prevent frontal air bags from deploying in certain "rare circumstances."
Fiat Chrysler said it no longer uses the occupant restraint controllers or wire routing design. The notice did not say when it will begin recall repairs, which spokesman Eric Mayne said the automaker is "finalizing." Continued...