December 12, 2014 / 3:23 PM / in 3 years

Chrysler expands Takata passenger-side air bag recall in U.S.

DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group is expanding its U.S. recall of older-model vehicles with Takata Corp passenger-side air bags, adding a second inflator design to the recall and more affected regions.

The Chrysler logo is seen outside the Chrysler auto dealer in Broomfield, Colorado October 1, 2014. U.S. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Chrysler, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a statement late Thursday that it was recalling 208,783 vehicles by adding the second inflator family as well as including five states and three territories. The company said no accidents or injuries in any of its vehicles have been linked to any Takata passenger-side inflators.

Chrysler was one of 10 automakers who began a regional recall in June of older-model vehicles equipped with both driver- and passenger-side Takata air bags in areas with high humidity.

Including a recent passenger-side air bag recall involving a single pickup truck model and a different Takata inflator design, the total number of affected vehicles is estimated at 617,573, Chrysler said.

“Chrysler Group has not identified an inflator defect in any of its vehicles,” the company said. “However, the company is committed - out of an abundance of caution - to replacing these components.”

U.S. safety regulators have been pushing Chrysler to expand its recall of vehicles with Takata passenger-side air bags, adding to the June regional recall.

On Dec. 3, Chrysler recalled 2003 Ram pickup trucks with passenger-side bags using inflators from a product family code-named “SPI.” Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called the move “insufficient” because it failed to include all inflators covered by Takata’s defect information report.

The recall on Thursday covers inflators from the “PSPI” family of Takata inflators, Chrysler said.

NHTSA officials could not be reached for a comment on Friday.

The latest expansion adds Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, American Samoa, Guam and Saipan to a list that initially included Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition to no injuries or accidents involving PSPI inflators, the company has not identified a defect in the parts, including its lab tests of nearly 600 such inflators.

The Thursday recall affects 2003 to 2005 models of Dodge and Chrysler cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. Affected customers will be notified, beginning Feb. 8.

Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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