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Car Maker Stellantis Extends Preventive Recall to Other Models Over Airbag Worries

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Car maker Stellantis has preventively extended a recall of vehicles with potentially faulty airbags to more Citroen and DS models, as well as the Opel brand, spokespeople for the carmaker told Reuters on Friday.

Citroen C4, DS4 and DS5 models as well as Opel models are now also subject to a “preventive recall measure,” which is less restrictive than the initial recall of Citroen C3 and DS3 models, which requires the immobilization of the vehicles concerned, they said.

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According to an Opel spokeswoman, 29,000 Opel vehicles fitted with Takata airbags are affected.

At the beginning of May, the group created by the merger between PSA and FCA launched a vast “stop drive” recall campaign for Takata airbags affecting 500,000 Citroën C3 and DS3 vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2019 and located in 24 different countries in Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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Stellantis Rushes to Replace Thousands of Faulty Takata Airbags

These airbags present a safety risk when deployed because the chemicals they contain can deteriorate when exposed to hot and humid weather conditions.

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“The C4, DS4 and DS5 vehicles are based on different platforms using different airbag references for which no cases of failure have been identified,” a Stellantis spokesman said.

“Opel vehicles are equipped with different airbags for which no case of failure has been identified,” he added.

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According to the government website “Rappel Conso,” the deterioration of the propellant, the product used to instantly deploy the airbag in the event of an accident, means that the bag can “rupture with too much force, injuring vehicle occupants.”

Once one of the world’s leading suppliers of airbags, Japan’s Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017 after the scandal that followed massive recalls of its products. Over the past decade, more than 100 million of its products have been recalled worldwide – including seven million in the United States.

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More than 30 deaths – including 27 in the United States – and more than 400 injuries have been attributed to airbags fitted to vehicles of various makers. The inflation of defective equipment can also cause metal debris to be projected, resulting in serious injuries.

Asked about accidents that could be attributed to airbags at Stellantis, a spokesman for the group said that he could not comment on current legal action.

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“Stellantis is working closely with (the authorities investigating accidents) to provide all the information required” but “is not in a position to comment on cases.”

According to its 2023 annual report, the Franco-Italian-American carmaker has set aside 951 million euros to finance the extension of the Takata airbag recall campaign in extended Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

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(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; writing by Marine Strauss; editing by GV De Clercq)

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