By Katie Stark and Paul D’Adamo, RAS
The Takata Airbag Recall has presented challenges and opportunities to Auto Recyclers. In the beginning, most Recyclers were not eager to jump in. Anytime you introduce a new concept, it takes time to formulate procedures, educate people, and identify the “Why” of the program. The “Why” is different for everyone. Many Recyclers see the opportunity to do the right thing so compliance is their primary motivator. The fear of being responsible for seriously injuring or killing someone who just happened to buy a defective Takata airbag from your business is also a big motivator. Believe it or not, we have done yard visits where the owners are unaware of the #yankthatbag airbag recall program. For most Recyclers, it is a combination of those motivators, plus the benefit of adding a “Recall Bounty” revenue stream that has increased participation exponentially.
When the first Takata airbag inflators were replaced at the dealerships, many were the same ammonium nitrate design as the original inflators. Were you aware of this? Due to the huge volumes of airbag inflators manufactured by Takata, the Automakers could not source enough new design airbag inflators for all the vehicles they were building along with the inflators they were replacing by the millions across the US and Canada. Once Takata went bankrupt, other manufacturers scrambled to fill the void and NHTSA allowed them to use the ammonium nitrate design with the stipulation that these inflators would be on an automatic recall within a set amount of time. For some Automakers, that time has come due.
Two other developments have taken place recently. The first is further independent testing to help NHTSA determine if the Takata issue affects earlier model vehicles than initially believed. The second development is ongoing research into whether recalls should be expanded to other manufacturers beyond Takata.
With all of this information coming at us from the news and Social Media, I have noticed many Self Service and some Full Service Auto Recyclers putting a complete ban on the sale of airbags. While a very conservative move for a Full Service Auto Recycler, we believe it would be an especially prudent decision for Self-Service facilities. The confusion and mis-information does not give us a good sense of confidence that what is not on Recall today won’t be 5-10 years from now.
Without naming specific Automakers, we are led to believe that the VIN Database will be expanded to include vehicles with defective airbags replaced at the Dealerships. In other words, the replacements for the original recalls will be on recall. We start 2020 knowing that additional VIN’s will most likely be added in the first quarter of 2020. Please watch for alerts from RAS when this happens.
For more information on airbag recalls, call Paul the Recall Guy at 401-458-9080 or email email@example.com