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Friday 30 September 2016
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Recall Roundup: Fiat Chrysler Airbags, Hyundai Tucson

Recall Roundup: Fiat Chrysler Airbags, Hyundai Tucson

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The Basics: Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.9 million vehicles worldwide for an airbag defect that is linked to three deaths and five injuries. The recall includes models sold between 2010 and 2014, including the Chrysler Sebring, 200, Dodge Caliber, Avenger, Jeep Patriot and Compass SUVs. The recall also includes the 2012-2013 Lancia Flavia midsize car sold outside of the U.S. About 1.4 million of the vehicles covered by the recall are in the U.S. Another 142,959 units are in Canada. 

The Issue: A defect that may prevent deployment of airbags and seat-belt pretensioners in some crashes.  Fiat Chrysler said the issue occurred when vehicles equipped with a particular occupant restraint control module and front impact sensor wiring of a specific design are involved in certain collisions. The automaker says it no longer uses the occupant restraint controllers or wire routing design.

The Fix: The notice did not say when FCA will begin recall repairs which are being finalized.

Notes: The recall is the latest in a series affecting tens of millions of airbags for a series of problems.

Last week, General Motors said it would recall nearly 4.3 million vehicles worldwide due to a software defect that can prevent airbags from deploying during a crash, a flaw already linked to one death and three injuries. That defect is similar but not identical to the Fiat Chrysler issue.

GM said in its recall that the sensing and diagnostic module that controls airbag deployment has a software defect that may prevent frontal airbags from deploying in certain “rare circumstances.”

Automakers and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been grappling with numerous airbag recall issues. In February, Continental Automotive Systems said it supplied potentially defective airbag control units to 5 million vehicles built over a five-year period. It said the units may fail and airbags may not deploy in a crash or may inadvertently deploy without warning.

In August, NHTSA said it was upgrading and expanding a probe of more than 8 million airbag inflators made by ARC Automotive Inc. after a driver was killed in Canada when an inflator ruptured in a Hyundai Motor Co. vehicle.

And in May, NHTSA said automakers will recall another 35 million to 40 million Takata airbag inflators that could rupture and send deadly metal fragments flying. More than 100 million inflators worldwide have been deemed defective and are linked to at least 14 deaths and 100 injuries.

Despite the recalls and continued government scrutiny, NHTSA has said it is clear “airbags save lives.” It estimates that frontal air bags saved 2,400 lives in 2014.

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The Basics: Hyundai is recalling about 41,000 Tuscon models in the U.S. because a software glitch can stop the vehicles from accelerating.

The Issue: The recall came after pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It covers 2016 Tucsons with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions made from May 20, 2015 to May 31, 2016.

Hyundai says it started getting reports in June that the engines would rev, but the SUVs wouldn’t move after coming to a stop. The problem was intermittent and often didn’t repeat itself, the company said in government documents. Engineers traced the problem to the transmission control computer that monitors driving to refine gear shifting. If the gas pedal is repeatedly cycled, the Tucson’s may not accelerate, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Dealers will reprogram the transmission computer.

Photo Copyright: Argus/Shutterstock