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US vehicle safety authority starts to look into Chrysler ignition switches

WASHINGTON--U.S. auto-safety authorities said Wednesday they are investigating Chrysler vehicles for ignition switch problems that could prevent air bags from deploying.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had opened two formal investigations related to the air bag system in certain Chrysler cars.

The NHTSA is already investigating similar ignition-switch problems with General Motors vehicles that are linked to at least 13 deaths.

The agency said that one Chrysler probe is looking to see if there is a safety defect in 2006-2007 Jeep Commanders and 2005-2006 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

The second investigation involves further review of vehicles that already under recall: the Chrysler 2008-2010 Grand Caravan, Town and Country and Dodge Journey vehicles.

Both investigations are looking at airbag design and performance related to the position of the vehicle ignition switch.

The NHTSA said it had received complaints of stalling.

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