AIADA, NADA Make Preparations as NHTSA Reveals Advisory on Counterfeit Air Bags
Dealer associations and other industry entities reinforced their positions on the issue Wednesday as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed a consumer safety advisory to alert vehicle owners and repair professionals to the dangers of counterfeit air bags.
NHTSA said it has become aware of a problem involving the sale of counterfeit air bags for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in a crash.
While these air bags look nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts — including bearing the insignia and branding of major automakers — NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment.
NHTSA is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to counterfeit air bags.
While the full scope and scale of the problem of counterfeit air bags is uncertain from currently available data, NHTSA identified certain vehicle makes and models for which these air bags may be available and believes this issue affects less than 0.1 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet.
Federal officials emphasized that only vehicles which have had an air bag replaced within the past three years by a repair shop that is not part of a franchised dealership may be at risk.
“The federal government’s extensive investigation of counterfeit replacement airbags is ongoing. However, dealers and consumers should keep in mind that the vast majority of vehicles on the road are safe as only 0.1 percent are affected by NHTSA’s safety advisory,” said Cody Lusk president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.
“At AIADA, our priority is ensuring our dealer members have the most up to date information in order to help their customers,” Lusk continued.” We encourage dealers to take advantage of their manufacturer hotlines and other resources as they become available.”
As the investigation continues, both AIADA and the National Automobile Dealers Association pointed out that franchised stores should expect to receive inquiries from customers
For a list of questions to help identify potential vehicles that will need further inspection, click here.
“Dealers should expect to receive communications directly from the OEMs they represent, addressing how to detect and manage counterfeit air bags,” NADA officials added.
“Unlike a safety recall campaign, customers should expect to pay to have their air bags diagnosed, and if necessary, replaced,” they continued.
Questions on this matter may be directed to NADA Regulatory Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 821-7040.
More Government and Industry Reaction
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was among the top federal officials who made Wednesday’s announcement regarding air bags.