The federal safety agency wants Chrysler to alert owners of the recall by December 1, not December 19, as planned by the automaker. NHTSA also wants Chrysler to expand the geographic scope of the Takata recall.
"I am extremely concerned about both the geographic scope and the slow pace of the recall," wrote NHTSA Deputy Chief David Friedman in a letter to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday.
He added: "Chrysler's delay in notifying consumers and taking other actions necessary to address the safety defects identified is unacceptable and exacerbates the risk to motorists' safety."
Takata has reported that it will begin shipping replacements parts for the recalled Chrysler vehicles on December 1. NHTSA said it "expects Chrysler to provide notification of the recall as soon as possible, and in no circumstances, later than December 1."
The Chrysler recall currently is limited to vehicles sold or registered in high-humidity areas of Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"This limitation is unreasonable," Friedman wrote.
NHTSA said the recall should also include southern Georgia, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa and areas along the coast of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Takata filed a defect report on November 10 that passenger airbag inflators are defective in other high-humidity areas.
Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Edmunds that the automaker is still reviewing the NHTSA request.
The Chrysler recall includes the 2003-'08 Dodge Ram pickup truck; 2004-'08 Dodge Durango SUV; 2007-'08 Chrysler Aspen SUV; 2005-'08 Chrysler 300 sedan; 2005-'08 Dodge Dakota pickup truck and 2006-'07 Mitsubishi Raider pickup truck.
The defective airbags may explode and shoot metal fragments at vehicle occupants, causing serious injury or death.
Edmunds says: Consumers will have to wait for Chrysler's decision, but the heat is on to speed things up and expand the scope of the Takata recall.