The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has announced that two major automobile manufacturers have issued recalls on a number of vehicles for safety-related problems. Collectively, the recalls involve nearly 750,000 vehicles.
Chrysler is recalling nearly 370,000 of its Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans for air bag problems that, ironically, could cause car accidents rather than minimizing injury in the event of a crash. Water leaks in the recalled models make the passenger side air bags susceptible to deployment without the minivans even coming into contact with another vehicle or other obstacle.
Chrysler executives stated that the company was aware of the leaks early in 2008 and that “over time” it had received reports of “some inadvertent air bag deployments.” The NHTSA requires a vehicle manufacturer to issue a recall within five business days of discovering a safety problem. The papers filed by Chrysler do not indicate when the company learned that the water leaks were the source of the problem.
Volkswagen recalled about the same number of vehicles, spread across five different models. Fuel line chafing in those vehicles resulted in holes appearing that leaked fuel. The company stated that it had not received reports of any fires or injuries resulting from the problem.