Chrysler and VW Recall Nearly 750,000 Vehicles

Volkswagen and Chrysler are recalling almost 750,000 vehicles in two separate recalls, according to documents filed recently with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chrysler says its recall covers about 367,000 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. The automaker said a water leak could cause the passenger side air bag to deploy without the vehicle being in a crash.

Chrysler told N.H.T.S.A. that the problem resulted from improperly assembled drains for the air-conditioning, which allowed water to leak onto the carpet. It also told the safety agency it knew of the leak early in 2008 and that “over time” it had reports of “some inadvertent air bag deployments.” The automaker said it later learned that the water leaks were the cause of the deployments.

The document filed by Chrysler did not make clear when the automaker discovered the cause of the deployments. Under federal regulations, once an automaker learns of a safety problem it has five business days to inform N.H.T.S.A. of a recall.

A Chrysler spokesman said that from July to September there was a “spike” in the number of complaints of air bags deploying leading to the recall.

Chrysler also said it would reimburse owners whose warranty had expired and who paid to have the leak fixed if they can provide an “original receipt and/or other adequate proof of payment.”

Volkswagen says its problem covers Volkswagen Insurance about 377,000 vehicles for a fuel line problem. The automaker told the safety agency that on vehicles with the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine it is possible a fuel line can chafe against another part and cause a hole to appear, which would leak fuel. VW said it was not aware of any fires.

The models are the 2007–9 Golf, Jetta and Jetta SportWagen; 2006–10 New Beetle and the 2007–9 Rabbit.