The (re)recall affects older models such as Jeeps 2002-2004 Liberty (2006 model shown). The faulty part was made by TRW but, in some Honda models, may be used in conjunction with a Takata airbag already subject to one of the inflator recalls

The (re)recall affects older models such as Jeep's 2002-2004 Liberty (2006 model shown). The faulty part was made by TRW but, in some Honda models, may be used in conjunction with a Takata airbag already subject to one of the 'inflator' recalls

The US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and automakers over the weekend announced a recall of over 2.12m cars to (again) repair airbags that might activate unintentionally.

Manufacturers’ original attempts to fix the defects proved ineffective in some vehicles, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statement said.

The new recalls cover 2.12m Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty [exported as Cherokee], Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Toyota Avalon models made in the early 2000s. The vehicles were subject to earlier recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy in the absence of a crash.

NHTSA discovered, through the monitoring of data from consumers and automakers, that some vehicles repaired under the previous recalls may have experienced inadvertent deployments and urged all three automakers to issue new recalls to implement a more effective remedy.

NHTSA said it identified about 40 vehicles in which airbags deployed unexpectedly after receiving the original remedy.

About 1m Toyota and Honda vehicles involved in these new recalls are also subject to the ongoing recall related to defective Takata airbags that may deploy with enough explosive force to cause injury or even death to vehicle occupants.

"Because of the dangers involved in an inadvertent deployment, and because some of the vehicles involved may also have defective Takata airbags, NHTSA urges consumers who were covered by the original recalls to take their vehicles to their local dealer for the original remedy. That remedy significantly reduces the chance of an airbag deployment that presents a safety risk," the safety agency said.

NHTSA said it was obtaining additional information from TRW, which made the electronic part believed to be involved in the inadvertent deployments, about the potential defect, its causes, and whether other makes or models might be affected and also talking to automakers about how quickly they could make the new, more effective remedy available.

The car makers moved quickly to clarify their own positions.

Chrysler

FCA (Fiat Chrysler) said in a statement it was launching a global recall of older model SUVs and cars to replace their occupant restraint control (ORC) modules and, if necessary, some impact sensors.

"The campaign will upgrade a repair performed as part of a 2012 recall. In that action, a filter was installed to ensure proper function of a potentially faulty ORC module supplied to FCA US and two other vehicle manufacturers.

Since that time, a small number of vehicles affected by the initial campaign (approximately 0.003% of the total) were subject to post-repair inadvertent air bag deployments. Some vehicle occupants suffered minor injuries from contact with the air bags; FCA US is aware of a single related accident."

FCA estimated 928,497 vehicles are affected with 753,156 in the US; 49,870 in Canada; 21,838 in Mexico; and 103,633 outside the NAFTA region.

 Affected are 2002-2004 Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees, 2002-2003 Jeep Libertys and 2003-2004 Dodge Vipers.

"FCA US is unaware of any related air bag deployments involving either this population of Vipers or the 2004 Cherokees but the company is including them in the campaign out of an abundance of caution.

"These vehicles are not equipped with Takata air bags," FCA stressed.

It added new ORC modules are being developed for the upgrade while some vehicles also may require new front- and/or side-impact sensors to accommodate software compatibility.

Honda

Honda's North American unit, already deeply involved in various Takata airbag inflator replacement recalls, said around 374,000 Honda and Acura vehicles in the United States are affected by the TRW component issues.

"The SRS airbag system will be repaired, free of charge [and] no crashes have been reported related to this issue," it said in a statement.

It recalled in September 2013 318,000 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey minivans and 56,000 2003 Acura MDX SUVs "to address potential malfunctions of the SRS airbag system in these vehicles due to electrical interference. Today, this recall has been updated with a revised remedy against the electrical interference.

To prevent malfunction, an electrical noise filter was installed adjacent to the SRS control unit as the original repair for this issue. The new repair procedure will be to replace the SRS control unit, free of charge."

Honda said it had has received "a small number of complaints of inadvertent airbag deployment in these vehicles after the original recall repair was completed. These vehicles are equipped with SRS control units that contain computer chips similar to those used in airbag system control units installed in other manufacturers’ vehicles that were also recalled in previous years and that will be subject to a similar updated repair procedure. No crashes have been reported to Honda related to this issue."

Toyota/Pontiac Vibe

A Toyota report to NHTSA said 1,006,849 of its vehicles potentially were affected though not all were in the US.

It will call back 2003-2004 Corolla sedans and Matrix Liftbacks, the Pontiac Vibe variant of the Matrix built on an OEM basis for the now defunct GM brand plus the Toyota Avalon.

Toyota or, in the case of Pontiac models, General Motors dealers will fit a new airbag control module and install a noise filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness, the report said.

KBB.com senior analyst Karl Brauer said: "It’s disappointing to see another 2m vehicles recalled before we’re out of the first month of 2015. Last year was a record year for vehicle recalls, and this is one record nobody wants to see broken. The nature of this recall is particularly troubling in that it covers vehicles that were, supposedly, already fixed to avoid random airbag deployments. Yet 39 of the ‘repaired’ vehicles have suffered inadvertent airbag deployment, suggesting the nature of the problem was not understood last time around.

"Now we’ve got a situation where consumers have to address this recall multiple times, with the components for the final fix not available until the end of 2015. If you own an affected vehicle this means driving around with the knowledge your airbag might still randomly deploy.

"And just to keep it interesting, some of these vehicles are equipped with Takata airbags, meaning the random deployment could include metal shrapnel. Nine injuries have already occurred from inadvertent airbag deployment involving Takata airbags that threw shrapnel.

"What a mess."

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