After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration insisted a recall was necessary, the 2013-15 models of Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 will be fixed and properly calibrated.
At the insistence of federal regulators, Fiat Chrysler is recalling about 843,000 pickups because slamming the door too hard could set off the air bag meant to provide head protection in a side-impact crash, according to a report by the automaker posted Saturday on the regulator’s website.
The recall includes about 667,000 vehicles in the United States and covers the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 from the 2013-15 model years. In addition to the U.S. vehicles, about 153,000 are being recalled in Canada, 8,300 in Mexico and 15,000 outside North America, a spokesman for Chrysler, Eric Mayne, said in an email.
The air bag, typically called an “air curtain,” is mounted in the ceiling above the side windows. The side-impact sensors were not properly calibrated, Chrysler said, so slamming the door “with excessive force” could set off the air curtain. Two injuries, described as minor, were noted.
In June, the automaker informed the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the problem, but contended that a recall was not needed, according to the report.
Instead, Chrysler wanted to notify owners that a fix was available, but the safety agency disagreed and insisted on a recall that requires every vehicle to be fixed and requires progress reports.
Fiat Chrysler has come under scrutiny for its handling of recalls. This month, the safety agency held a hearing in which it accused Fiat Chrysler of failing to promptly recall dangerous vehicles, citing 23 recalls involving more than 11 million cars. That raises the possibility of a fine.
The hearing was viewed as signaling a more aggressive approach by the agency under Mark Rosekind, who took over as administrator in December.
The agency has long been criticized as often being too lax on automakers.