And so it begins.
Last week, Japan's Takata Corporation finally agreed to expand recalls of its deeply flawed airbags, which have been linked to at least six deaths and dozens of injuries in the U.S. and Asia. As a result, the total number of vehicles affected has reached 34 million, making the Takata recall the largest automotive recall ever conducted and one of the largest recalls of any kind, ever.
Now, automakers have begun announcing the specific makes and models affected by the enlarged recall, which includes vehicles from coast to coast. (Previous Takata recalls were typically limited to specific areas of the country, based on their humidity levels, which is believed to be a factor in causing Takata's airbags to explode.)
The first car company to make such an announcement in the U.S. is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. FCA is now recalling the following 4,747,202 vehicles nationwide to replace driver-side airbags:
- 2004-2008 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup
- 2005-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup
- 2006-2009 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup
- 2007-2009 Dodge Ram 3500 cab chassis vehicle
- 2008-2010 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 cab chassis vehicle
- 2008-2009 Sterling 4500 and 5500 cab chassis vehicle
- 2004-2008 Dodge Durango SUV
- 2005-2010 Chrysler 300 sedan
- 2005-2010 Chrysler 300C sedan
- 2005-201 Chrysler SRT8 sedan
- 2005-2010 Dodge Charger sedan
- 2005-2010 Dodge Magnum station wagon
- 2005-2011 Dodge Dakota pickup
- 2006-2011 Mitsubishi Raider pickup
- 2003 Dodge Ram 1500
- 2003 Dodge Ram 2500
- 2003 Dodge Ram 3500
With the expansion, FCA's total recall list includes 5,224,845 vehicles worldwide.
As mentioned above, many of the aforementioned models have already been recalled to replace potentially faulty Takata airbags. However, previous recalls have mostly focused on areas with high humidity, like states along the Gulf Coast. The expansion to which Takata agreed last week affects vehicles nationwide and adds 2008-2011 FCA models
Thankfully, FCA knows of just one incident related to vehicles equipped with Takata-brand airbags. It involved a 2006 Dodge Charger, and it took place in southern Florida -- an area of persistent high humidity. That incident involved an injury, but no fatalities.
FCA also notes that its vehicles in the U.S. are no longer built using any of Takata's suspect airbag devices.
If you own one of the vehicles listed above and you've not yet received a recall notice, expect one in the mail shortly. Unfortunately, if you've already had one of these vehicles repaired under the Takata recall, you may have to take it in for another fix, since there are lingering questions about the viability of airbags that Takata supplied for the first round of repairs.
You can call FCA directly with any questions at 800-853-1403.