Chrysler Group LLC on Monday said it is adding about 696,000 minivans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to a 2011 recall to fix faulty ignition switches.
The latest recall covers some Dodge Journey SUVs and Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans from the 2007 to 2009 model years. Most were sold in the US, Canada and Mexico.
After Chrysler filed paperwork telling the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the expansion, the agency said it was dissatisfied, raising concerns about whether the switch problem can stop the air bags from inflating in a crash.
The agency has asked Chrysler for more information in the case and said it “will take appropriate action based on its findings.”
The safety agency has been looking into ignition-switch performance across the US auto industry, focusing on whether air bags will inflate after ignition switches are turned off.
Chrysler said two crashes have been reported in the batch of vehicles that were recalled on Monday, but it is not aware of any injuries.
Chrysler recalled 196,000 Journeys, Caravans and Town & Countrys in March of 2011 because the ignition keys could unexpectedly move from “run” to “accessory” and shut down the engine.
This can knock out the power steering and disable air bags.
Meanwhile, General Motors Co’s (GM) safety crisis worsened on Monday when the automaker added 8.2 million vehicles to its huge list of cars recalled over faulty ignition switches.
The latest recalls involve mainly older midsize cars and bring GM’s total number of recalls this year to over 28 million.
GM said it was aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles recalled on Monday.
However, the company said it has no conclusive evidence that faulty switches caused the crashes.
The Detroit company also said it plans to take a US$1.2 billion charge in the second quarter for recall-related expenses. Added to a US$1.3 billion charge in the first quarter, that brings total recall expenses for the year to US$2.5 billion.
The latest recalls cover seven vehicles, including the Chevrolet Malibu from 1997 to 2005 and the Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008.
The recalls also cover a newer model, the 2003 to 2014 Cadillac CTS.
GM said the recalls are for “unintended ignition key rotation.”
GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said the recalls stem from an extensive safety review within the company.
“If any other issues come to our attention, we will act appropriately and without hesitation,” she said in a statement.
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