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Chrysler and Kia Exploring Possible Airbag Inflator Issues

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In the wake of thousands of exploding air bags created by Japanese manufacturer Takata, there could be a new recall in the works for consumers who drive Chrysler minivans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun an investigation into two reported ruptures of air bag inflators made by Knoxville-based ARC Automotive Inc.

Chrysler and Kia Models May Have Received Faulty Airbags

The two incidents of airbag malfunction, one in a Chrysler and one in a Kia, caused two injuries but no fatalities. NHTSA is currently Deflated Airbag on the Steering Wheel After an Accidentcollecting data from the two crashes and the manufacturing process to determine whether a recall will be necessary.

The following companies allegedly received ARC products and are involved in the current investigation:

  • Chrysler. NHTSA received notice of the first incident in 2009, when an Ohio woman was injured by the airbag in a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. Documents in the case show a man describing his wife’s injuries after the minivan struck a snowmobile, sending flying shrapnel into the woman as the air bag deployed. Reports indicate that the woman was struck in the chest and chin by metal fragments, breaking her jaw in three places. Investigation into the case identified a blocked exhaust vent as a possible cause of malfunction.

  • Kia. The second accident occurred in a 2004 Kia Optima. The cause of the incident is unknown; however, the vehicle did have an ARC inflator on the driver's side and the driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

  • Delphi. NHTSA documents have revealed that ARC sold inflators to Key Safety Systems, and that ARC inflators were used in some of Delphi Corp’s air bag assemblies before the company’s air bag business was sold in 2010. NHTSA estimates that ARC products were installed in nearly 420,000 older Fiat Chrysler Town and Country minivans and almost 70,000 Kia Optima sedans.

Fiat Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne has said that the company is cooperating with the investigation, and that it has discontinued use of ARC inflators in its vehicles. If you or someone you love was injured by a defective airbag, we can help. Leave us a comment below or call Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 to have us investigate your claim. Your consultation with us is free, and you will pay no fees unless we win your case.


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