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VW expands Chrysler-built minivan recall over ignition switches

VW expands Chrysler-built minivan recall over ignition switches
by Ben Klayman

Volkswagen AG is more than doubling a three-year-old recall of its Chrysler-built Routan minivans that have ignition switches that can be knocked into the accessory position and shut off the engine, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

VW is recalling about 20,417 Routan minivans from model year 2009 in the United States and Canada, adding to the 2010 models it recalled in 2011 for the same issue and bringing the total number of vehicles affected to about 34,210 vehicles, according to the documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A VW spokeswoman said on Friday there have been no reported accidents, injuries or deaths related to the issue, and no other markets were affected.

The automaker expanded the recall after Chrysler in late June sent documents for a recall of its own minivans for the issue, saying 2009 Routan models were affected as well, according to the NHTSA documents. In June, Chrysler, a unit of Fiat , added almost 696,000 minivans from model years 2008 and 2009 to a recall of 2010 models for the ignition switch issue.

Attention to the issue of ignition switches that can be inadvertently turned off while driving, causing the loss of air bags, power steering and power brakes, increased after General Motors Co recalled 2.6 million cars because of a defective ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths.

The crisis at the No. 1 U.S. automaker has led to numerous investigations by NHTSA, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general.

Like other automakers who have dealt with this safety issue, VW is advising customers with the recalled vehicles to remove all items from their key rings, leaving only the ignition key, according to the NHTSA documents.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will modify the ignition switch at no cost, according to the NHTSA documents. The recall is expected to begin by the end of this month.

Of the cars affected in the 2009-model recall, about 18,526 were sold in the United States and about 1,891 in Canada, VW said.