WASHINGTON — Chrysler will begin replacing potentially faulty airbag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata in 371,264 vehicles starting in early December, according to a Chrysler Group filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The vehicles include the 2003-'07 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup; 2005-'07 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup; 2006-'07 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup; 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 Cab Chassis; 2004-'07 Dodge Durango SUV; 2007 Chrysler Aspen; 2005-'07 Chrysler 300, 300C, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Magnum; 2005-'07 Dodge Dakota pickup truck and 2006-'07 Mitsubishi Raider pickup.
"Although no safety defect determination has been made," Chrysler said it is conducting what it calls a regional field action.
"Chrysler takes this issue very seriously and is actively working with Takata to get inflators replaced in vehicles as quickly as possible," the filing said. "Chrysler anticipates that the regional field action will be initiated no later than December 19, 2014. Chrysler is investigating the potential to initiate this regional field action in specific areas of Florida as early as the first week in December.
"As part of the field action, and until adequate input has been received, Chrysler will ask dealers to send all replaced inflators directly to Takata for further analysis and testing."
Chrysler said it is aware of 830 airbag deployments within the areas of the regional field action. The area includes Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The testing on the returned airbag inflators includes CT scans and live deployments, according to NHTSA documents.
Across all manufacturers, the Takata inflators under scrutiny by NHTSA total 37.8 million, according to NHTSA documents. Approximately 25 million are passenger-side inflators made from 2000-'04. Another 12.8 million are driver-side inflators made from 2004-'07.
Chrysler told NHTSA that its engineering team "conducts daily conference calls with Takata personnel, and regularly visits the dedicated Takata test facility in Armada, Michigan, where live dissections and deployments of returned parts are conducted daily."
The automaker added: "Chrysler will reassess the safety risk, and take appropriate action, as additional data/information becomes available."
Takata's airbag inflators are under investigation because they can explode and send metal parts into the car's cabin, endangering passengers.
Edmunds says: Chrysler owners affected by the Takata airbag inflator recall get some reassuring word that parts will be available soon at dealerships.