Fiat Chrysler said it would cease to equip its vehicles with non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate airbags made by Takata.
The 2016 Jeep Wrangler is the only model made by Fiat Chrysler that still comes fitted with the passenger-side inflators made by Takata that do not have the chemical additive to prevent moisture absorption. The lack of the desiccant and exposure to humidity, coupled with variations in temperatures over time, could lead to an instant combustion of the ammonium-nitrate propellant, causing the inflators to rupture with force when they deploy. The automaker said that it would phase out the potentially deadly airbags in the Wrangler marketed for North America by next week, while it would expect the same move to be taken for all other global regions by mid-September. FCA uses now alternate propellants for the airbags fitted in its cars, the company stated. It also added that it was unaware of any passenger-side inflator failures in the 2016 Wrangler and tests made on nearly 6,300 of older versions of the Wrangler’s passenger-side inflator showed no sign of failures.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced in April that carmakers would have to recall another 35 million to 40 million such inflators in phases between May 2016 and December 2019. A report released earlier this month by a top Democrat on the US Senate Commerce Committee pointed out that Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi were still selling new cars with potentially defective inflators that would eventually have to be recalled.