Two more fatalities related to exploding Takata airbags led Stellantis to put out a “do-not-drive” order.
It’s relatively rare for automakers to so bluntly warn their customers to park their cars, but that’s what FCA US is doing Thursday through an official statement and stop-drive order. Nearly 276,000 cars are involved in this voluntary campaign, including the 2005-2010 Dodge Charger sedan, Magnum station wagon, Challenger coupe and Chrysler 300 sedan.
There is no new recall campaign, as such, as these cars were already swept up in the wave of recalls in 2015 from virtually every automaker surrounding Takata airbags. Specifically, this notice covers cars that have not had the recall work completed, by the company’s records.
“FCA has been engaged in aggressive outreach to encourage vehicle owners and custodians affected by Takata recalls to obtain service. To date, through various initiatives, the company has generated nearly 210 million standard and first-class letters, courier deliveries, e-mails, text messages, while also making phone calls and home visits.” FCA contends that the longer these vehicles go unrepaired, the greater the risk of an airbag fracture during a crash. If that indeed happens, the results can be deadly.
The automaker says it has more than enough replacement parts to cover all of the affected population. It is encouraging owners to schedule an appointment as quickly as possible — the repair is free (as it is a recall matter) and typically takes under an hour to complete. This only affects older vehicles built before this massive problem with Takata airbags came to widespread attention. These airbags are no longer used in any vehicles FCA currently builds.