Fiat Chrysler today announced it will cease using non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate Takata air-bag inflators in its vehicles by as early as next week.
Takata has found itself at the center of what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history,” after it was discovered the company’s airbags may deploy in an explosive manner, injuring or killing vehicle occupants. Worldwide, more than 100 million vehicles from 14 different manufactures have been affected.
The root cause of the problem is certain Takata airbags use an ammonium nitrate-based propellant without an accompanying drying agent. The majority of FCA products use alternate propellants or employ desiccant-enhanced ammonium nitrate, so they are not affected by the recall, however the passenger side airbag on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler uses a using non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflator.
FCA says it is unaware of any failures with the passenger side inflator on the 2016 Wrangler. Unsold vehicles with the airbag will be identified for customers, while the rest will eventually be recalled by NHTSA. FCA said it performed 6,300 tests on both old and new versions of the non-desiccated ammonium-nitrate inflator and “all performed as intended.”