Chrysler recalls about 745,000 Jeep SUVs in U.S. for airbag issue


Chrysler Group LLC is recalling almost 745,000 Jeep sport utility vehicles in the United States to fix a part that could cause the airbags to inadvertently deploy.

Chrysler, controlled by Italy's Fiat SpA, is recalling 744,822 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs from model years 2002 through 2004 because a part in the vehicles' airbag control module may fail, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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A failure of that module could cause the front airbags, side curtain airbags and seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the SUVs are being operated, increasing the risk of injury or accident, according to NHTSA documents.

In October 2011, NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation relating to complaints of inadvertent airbag deployments in Liberty SUVs, according to the documents. In January 2012, the probe was upgraded to an engineering analysis to include the Grand Cherokee SUVs.

The probe found 215 cases of inadvertent airbag deployments that resulted in 81 minor injuries involving both SUVs, according to the documents. There were no crashes found to have been caused by inadvertent airbag deployment.

Chrysler's dealers will install a supplemental jumper harness to the airbag control module at no cost to owners. The recall is expected to begin in January. (Reporting By Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)