The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two investigations involving 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles that might have faulty airbags or ignition switches.
An NHTSA statement said that both new investigations “are an outcome of NHTSA’s communication with automotive manufacturers and suppliers regarding airbag design and performance related to the position of the vehicle ignition switch,” an effort stepped up in the wake of the GM recalls.
The airbag matter is a preliminary investigation involving Jeep Commanders from the 2006-2007 model years and 2005-2006 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
The second is a “recall query” of ignition switches that might inadvertently shift into the accessory position. It covers 2008-2010 Grand Caravan and Town & Country minivans and Dodge Journey crossovers from 2008 through 2010 model years.
The agency also said that it has linked no deaths, but one injury, to the Chrysler switch issue.
NHTSA has been working with automakers and suppliers to learn whether the problems may be related, but so far none of the complaints the agency has received were about the airbag failing to deploy when the vehicle stalled.
Airbag deployment has received more attention in the media since General Motors Co. recalled millions of vehicles this year for defective ignition switches. The failure of airbags to deploy when the ignition was in the accessory mode is linked to at least 13 deaths, and CEO Mary Barra testified Wednesday on the matter before Congress.
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