According to the company, the Chrysler Group LLC has decided to send out recall notifications to owners of autos that have potentially faulty Takata Corp airbags around two weeks earlier than previously planned.
Still, the third-largest automaker – which has a history of clashing with the NHTSA – added that it would not decide on the idea of expanding the regional recall to a nationwide level until next week. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the automaker in a letter sent Tuesday it has to grow the recall and begin notifying customers of the safety campaign by December 1. According to the letter sent by the NHTSA to Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, the delay “exacerbates the risk to motorists’ safety,” because the drivers are not alerted by the potential hazards they face when using a Takata-equipped Chrysler car.
While more than 16 million vehicles (since 2008) and at least 10 million units in the US alone (since last year) have been recalled because of potential defects with the airbags’ inflator, Chrysler and nine other carmakers started recalling autos in June only from high-humidity states and US territories. The Takata-built inflator could explode with too much force, sending metal debris and shrapnel flying inside the cabin at high velocity.