Fiat Chrysler Will Stop Using Recalled Takata Airbags In New Vehicles

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Earlier this month a report revealed that at least four major carmakers continue to equip new vehicles with Takata airbags that will soon be recalled after being found to deploy with enough force to shoot pieces of shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Today, one of those carmakers — Fiat Chrysler — announced plans to immediately stop using the safety devices in question. 

The Detroit News reports that Fiat Chrysler will eliminate the use of the defective airbags, earmarked to be recalled by 2018, as soon as next week.

The carmaker admitted in a report from Florida Sen. Bill Nelson that it, along with Toyota, Volkswagen, and Mitsubishi, continued to use the Takata airbags in new vehicles, meaning that consumers who purchase the new vehicles will have to have the safety devices replaced in less than two years.

However, there currently is no law prohibiting the carmakers from using the Takata airbags in the vehicles and then selling them, as the recall isn’t technically effective for two more years.

“What’s troubling here is that consumers are buying new cars not realizing they’re going to be recalled,” Nelson said in a statement. “These cars shouldn’t be sold until they’re fixed.”

According to the report, the four carmakers’ vehicle models contain Takata’s ammonium nitrate-based propellant in driver and passenger frontal airbag inflators without a chemical drying agent, also known as a desiccant.

Investigators’ previous determination that the root cause of the violent ruptures was a combination of three factors: time, environmental moisture, and fluctuating high temperatures contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators.

FCA contends that most of its cars are equipped with Takata airbags that use a different substance than ammonium nitrate to power their inflation.

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler’s passenger-side airbag will be the final FCA car to use a non-desiccated ammonium nitrate design, the company said, noting that it is unaware of any issues with the car’s airbag.

Still, FCA said on Tuesday that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall schedule — which focuses on vehicles located in humid areas first — “ensures the inflators will be recalled and replaced before they become dangerous, giving vehicle owners sufficient time to have them replaced before they pose a danger to vehicle occupants.”

Fiat Chrysler eliminating use of recalled air bags [The Detroit News]