In 2013, when a handful of the world’s leading car companies issued global safety recalls related to airbag inflators supplied by leading car parts manufacturer Takata, one may be excused for missing the news report or dismissing them as irrelevant.
Yet four years later, the airbag recall has now escalated massively to involve two dozen of the world’s largest car companies and has been described as “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. To date, approximately 42 million vehicles are potentially affected in the United States alone, and at least 7 million have been recalled worldwide.
The issue involves defective inflator and propellant devices that may go off improperly in the event of a crash, shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants. In Jamaica, the chance of an improper inflation is even higher due to the high temperature and humidity. To date, vehicles have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side mostly installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2015. Newer cars are not affected.
One Jamaican-based based car company, the ATL Automotive Group, has taken a lead role in raising awareness to the issue and repairing any affected cars. Head of Business at Honda Jamaica, Samuel McKenzie commented, “Not all recalls are equal and this is one that requires immediate action because of the potential life-threatening nature of it and the sheer number of cars affected. Recalls of any kind are never ideal but at ATL Automotive Group, we have undertaken a full marketing campaign to educate Honda drivers, whether they bought their car from us at ATL Automotive or not, to urge them to bring their car to us so we can make the necessary repairs. This is not a Honda issue, it’s a global automotive issue and if your car, regardless of brand, was made between 2002 to 2015, it may be affected. The positive news for Honda drivers is that the repairs are completed by our expert technicians on the spot in less than 30 minutes and are completely free of charge– all you need to do is make an appointment.”
Through various announcements, the recall has tripled in size over the past year and it is expected that the inflator recall will see the total number of replaced airbags range from 65 to 70 million. “The challenge is locating the cars and their drivers when many of the affected cars have changed hands several times and include “grey market” cars imported from overseas and so on. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in advertising campaigns that raise awareness and urge people to act. We’ve been running radio and print advertisements, heavyweight digital campaigns, e-marketing campaigns, SMS blasts and everything in-between. The main message is simply ‘If your Honda was made between 2002 and 2015, call us and let us check if your car is affected. If it is, let us fix it for you’.” McKenzie added.
Car owners can visit URL and check their cars recall status simply by entering their VIN number or by calling 1888-ATL-SERV. Further information about the recall and the brands and models affected can be found at www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2016/05/…takata-air-bag-recall/index.htm