Fiat Chrysler recalls 88,500 SUVs for air bag software

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Tuesday it is recalling another 88,500 2014-15 Jeep Cherokees to upgrade air bag software to prevent some rare inadvertent deployments. It said it had erred by not including them in an earlier recall.

The new recall means the company has now recalled nearly 317,000 2014-15 Jeep Cherokees worldwide since February.

The campaign will upgrade software that governs side-curtain and seat-mounted side air bags following nine inadvertent deployments worldwide. The company says most occurred in harsh, off-road environments. They were prompted by maneuvers that dramatically changed the vehicles’ angle of operation, relative to the ground, and the air-bag systems — sensing potential rollover conditions — automatically activated.

The latest recall included 62,000 vehicles in the United States.

In February, Fiat Chrysler recalled 228,181 2014-15 Jeep Cherokees for the issue worldwide.

In April 2014, Chrysler Engineering became aware of of an unwanted side air bag deployments in Dubai and at a press event in Italy. In June, Chrysler Engineering received the air bag control module from the Italy press event for analysis. Another incident was reported in Russia in June and another in September at a Chrysler Vehicle Development 4x4 event in Moab, Utah.

Fiat Chrysler said it updated the software in 2015 and 2016 vehicles in a production change in November 2014 to address air bag deployment issues without recalling the vehicles. The company told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week it was expanding the U.S. recall because it had inadvertently omitted 62,000 vehicles. “The error was discovered when a vehicle was found to have the condition and was not included in the recall population.”