Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or simply Chrysler, has issued a recall order for nearly 90,000 Dodge Challengers relating to the defective airbags from Japanese supplier Takata. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the affected vehicles toll at 88,346 units.
NHTSA’s website on Saturday posted a report, stating the recall affects the Challenger models of 2008 to 2010 years, manufactured between September 2007 and October 2010. The announcement will mark an expansion of the agency’s list, last updated in May, for the nationwide recall to replace faulty airbags from Japan’s Takata Corp.
Chrysler informs owners and dealers that it would be replacing the faulty inflators at no extra cost. However, the NHTSA said that the replacements aren’t available currently. Contradicting with earlier reports, which said that car owners can get affected vehicles back to dealers and might wait for about a month for getting their faulty airbag systems fixed.
The NHTSA expects the recall process to take years to complete, and the agency said that its primary focus is to identify the brands and models of the vehicles that are involved.
The cause of the problem is moisture intrusion in the inflators, used to inflate the airbags inside the cabin. The faulty airbags, upon moisture entry, could rupture in case of a car crash, resulting in an explosion, powerful enough to send sharp metal pieces inside the cabin of the vehicle.
On May 21 Chrysler authorized a recall order that included vehicles manufactured between the years 2004 to 2011. A Chrysler audit released on July 6 revealed that Dodge Challenger models of 2008-2010 years were “inadvertently excluded” from the earlier recall, resulting in the new action.
The recall due to faulty airbags from Takata Corp is considered to be the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history. Already eight deaths are reported, all of them being in Honda Motor Co vehicles; while hundreds of injuries due to accidents dates back more than a decade.
The recall affects about 34 million vehicles in the US, which was initially projected close to 18 million vehicles. NHTSA’s head Mark Rosekind said on July 2 that Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of delayed recalls may prompt the agency to consider fines or force the carmaker to buy back defective vehicles.