Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. is recalling more than 450,000 cars because the passenger-side sun visor can detach and injure passengers if it’s folded down during an accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Thursday. The NHTSA initiated the recall campaign on June 2 after Mitsubishi informed the administration of its plans to recall certain 2001 to 2005 Eclipses, Eclipse Spyders, Chrysler Sebrings and Dodge Stratuses because its investigation into complaints of passengers receiving facial injuries from the visor revealed a potential defect.
“As a result of this testing, Mitsubishi confirmed that the sun visor for the Eclipse had a higher possibility of detachment due to interference with the deployed airbag than the other tested models,” Mitsubishi said in a document filed with the recall.
Because of the potential detachment of the visor, Mitsubishi decided to recall 2000 to 2005 Mitsubishi Eclipses and Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyders and 2001 to 2005 Dodge Stratuses and Chrysler Sebrings manufactured by Mitsubishi for Chrysler, although Mitsubishi notes Chrysler hasn’t reported any similar injuries.
According to the recall, Mitsubishi and Chrysler will notify car owners about the defect and that dealers will install a tether strap for free so the passenger sun visor stays attached, although the recall didn’t yet have a notification schedule. The company estimates 459,618 cars will be affected by the recall. Mitsubishi first heard of the potential defect in 2006 when a passenger reported receiving facial injuries and being blinded in one eye. Mitsubishi settled the claim and decided to monitor for similar incidents. Since the first accident in 2006, Mitsubishi has received four other reports of accidents caused by the passenger-side sun visor, including another where the passenger was blinded in one eye. The company began investigating the potential of a defect in the design in 2013 and initially determined the passenger side airbag deployed normally relative to the visor in comparison to other Mitsubishi cars.
After receiving another claim in April 2014, Mitsubishi renewed its investigation and later revised its findings, recognizing that the sun visor has the potential to detach during accidents, according to recall documents.
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