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Washington — General Motors Co. is recalling nearly 290,000 older Chevrolet Impala vehicles that have airbags that may not recognize their passenger seats are occupied.

The company said in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the passenger presence sensory system of the affected cars, which were released in the 2009-2010 model years, “may fail to recognize that the passenger seat is occupied, disabling the air bag.”

The company said 289,254 of the older Impalas are potentially affected by the recall.

“Damage may also cause the air bag fuse to short resulting in a loss of all air bags and seat belt pretensions,” the company said in the filing. “Both conditions increase the risk of injury during a crash.”

GM said the air bags’ passenger detection system can be damaged if the front passenger seat frame makes contact with the wires of the module that contains the sensors. The company said the affected vehicles were manufactured between April 25, 2008 and Feb. 16, 2010.

GM said it will notify owners of the affected cars and its dealers will fix damaged wires for free.

“Dealers will double wrap the wires with anti-abrasion tape and replace damaged wires as necessary, free of charge,” the company said.

GM said Impala owners can contact Chevrolet’s customer service office at 1-800-521-7300. The company said drivers should use the recall campaign number 36110 to obtain information about the air bag call back.

klaing@detroitnews.com

(202) 662-8735

Twitter: @Keith_Laing

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