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Faulty Airbags, Potential Lawsuits Lead To Separate Jeep And Kia Recalls

November 8, 2011

Faulty Airbags, Potential Lawsuits Lead to Separate Jeep and Kia Recalls

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Chrysler Group LLC said it is recalling 5,334 Jeep Wrangler vehicles from the 2008 through 2012 model years to fix a problem that could cause malfunctions in their airbag systems.” According to the report, this issue is limited to a small group of Wranglers which were sold in the United States with their steering wheels positioned on the right side of the vehicle. The news source explains that most of these vehicles are used for rural postal delivery.

According to the article, this airbag defect is related to the component of the airbag system known as the clockspring assembly. This faulty component may “turn on the airbag warning light that indicates the airbag may not function in a crash.” The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to the Chrysler Group’s head of product investigations and campaigns, this airbag defect is the result of the environmental exposure to dirt, dust, rain, and other particles which may affect the system due to the mail carrier’s frequent lowering of their windows.

Although there have not yet been any accidents associated with this airbag defect, the Wall Street Journal explains that sometime this month the auto manufacturer will notify customers and explain that no “permanent remedy” is yet available. However, the news source indicated that if the vehicle’s airbag-warning light goes on, “drivers should bring their vehicles to a Chrysler-authorized dealer for a free inspection and replacement of the clockspring if required.”

In a completely separate campaign, Consumer Reports reports that both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Kia Motors have announced a recall of over 10,600 Kia Sorento sport utility automobiles. This recall addresses incorrect programming which may actually deactivate adult riders’ front passenger airbag. These SUVs were manufactured from June 15, 2006 to November 27, 2007.

Consumer Reports explains that this issue affects the “Occupant Classification System (OCS) installed in 2007 and 2008 model year Sorento SUVs manufactured from June 2006 through September 2007.” This safety system deactivates the airbag if a baby seat or child is in the front passenger seat, as an airbag deployment could be dangerous to anyone who is not the proper size and weight.

However, Consumer Reports explains that this faulty programming could also keep the passenger airbag from deploying during a crash, even if a heavier adult is sitting in the front seat. However, the recall notice does explain that the “passenger airbag off” warning light, which is on the Sorento’s dashboard, will indicate to drivers and passengers that the deactivation has taken place.

Nevertheless, the news source explained that the auto manufacturer is advising Kia Sorento SUV owners to bring their vehicles to their local dealerships to have the dealers “reprogram the OCS to operate correctly.”

If you or a loved one have been injured due to an airbag issue in one of the affected Jeep or Kia models, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with automobile recalls. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

References:

Eng, Paul. (September 15, 2011). “Recall : 2007-2008 Kia Sorentos for faulty front passenger airbags.” Retrieved on November 8, 2011 from Consumer Reports.

Welsh, Jonathan. (November 4, 2011) “Jeep Recalls Certain Wranglers to Fix Airbag Systems.” Retrieved on November 8, 2011 from the Wall Street Journal.

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