Feds Say Chrysler Is Endangering Consumers with Limited Air Bag Recall

Dec 05, 2014 05:20 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Federal regulators say that Chrysler's refusal to expand recalls for five models equipped with faulty Takata air bags is putting customers in danger.

While Chrysler Group is widening a recall for Ram pickups, it is not doing the same for five other vehicles, Bloomberg News reported.

"Chrysler still refuses to expand the regional recall to all affected cars and trucks, which is putting Americans at risk and defies common sense," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Director David Friedman said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.

Chrysler and other automakers have been conducting regional campaigns in areas with high humidity since moisture seems to exacerbate the air bags' condition. Faulty inflators can cause the air bags to explode in the event of a crash, an issue that has been connected with multiple deaths and serious injuries.  

Earlier this week, Chrysler announced a recall expansion involving 149,150 older-model pickup trucks in seven U.S. states and five territories.

The campaign affects "model-year 2003 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups sold or ever registered in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands," the automaker said.

In a separate order, the NHTSA has told Japanese supplier Takata to extend recalls for its faulty air bags nationwide; however, the company has refused to comply.

The malfunctioning air bag inflators have been related to at least five deaths, possibly six, since they can explode in the event of a crash and spray shrapnel at the vehicle's occupants.

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