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DETROIT — After resisting for nearly a month, Chrysler has bowed to government demands and will expand a recall of driver's side air bag inflators across the nation. The automaker said Friday that it will recall nearly 2.9 million older cars and trucks in the U.S., as demanded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The vehicles have driver's air bags equipped with inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp. that can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least five deaths have been blamed on Takata inflators. The recalls previously were limited to areas with high humidity. For instance, Chrysler's recall covered just Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. With the move, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles joins Honda, Mazda and Ford in expanding the recall nationally, which could ease the minds of many car owners whose vehicles previously weren't eligible for repairs. How soon those owners will get replacement parts remains in question, however.
Like other automakers, Chrysler said it will first send replacement parts to areas with high humidity that are at greater risk. The automaker said customers will be notified when the parts are available to schedule repairs at a dealership. Takata itself has refused the NHTSA's request for a nationwide recall of driver's side inflators, about 8 million in total. But it will still make replacement parts for the automakers that are expanding their recalls.