ARA Responds to Media Coverage of Takata Air Bags
The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) has released a statement in response to the media coverage recycled air bags have received because of the Takata recall. ARA expressed concern over the reports local newscasts across the country have aired about reusing non-deployed original equipment manufacturer (OEM) airbags. ARA’s statement makes note how auto recyclers are trying to prevent recalled air bags from going any farther in the supply chain and tested, quality non-deployed air bags are still a viable repair option.
“Given the complex issues regarding automotive replacement parts and the automotive supply chain, it is sometimes difficult for local news reporters to accurately capture the full range of facts surrounding such an important safety issue,” stated ARA. “When reporters fail to reach out to industry stakeholders to better understand the complexities, the challenge of fair and accurate reporting is made even more difficult.
“ARA would like to address the misrepresentations about the utilization of recycled, non-deployed OEM airbags contained in these newscasts as well as highlight aspects of the issue that have been ignored by the media.”
ARA stated that Takata invented an airbag-inflator technology that reportedly gave it a cost advantage over its competitors in the airbag market, but the company’s own labs found that the airbag propellant could go off accidentally in hot, high-humidity conditions, turning the inflator into “shrapnel.” The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation which states that four auto manufacturers knew of the defect “for years.” Lawyers for the victims filed a civil suit in Florida in February 2017 stating that emails and internal documents from four manufacturers indicate “that cost considerations influenced automakers’ decision to adopt Takata’s airbags in the early 2000s despite safety concerns.”
Professional automotive recycling facilities are aware of the dangers of defective Takata airbags and the federal requirement prohibiting the sale of non-remedied recalled automotive parts, stated ARA. According to the association, many ARA member facilities are participating in Honda’s airbag module buy-back program or taking other steps to prevent the reutilization of these defective airbags, such as looking up acquired vehicles using the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) www.safercar.gov website, which allows vehicles under recall to be identified by vehicle identification number (VIN).
The association also noted that recycled, non-deployed OEM air bags are a viable replacement part option.
“ARA strongly supports the reuse of non-deployed OEM airbags which have met industry standards and believes that those evaluated, recycled airbag components are a safe, economically-smart repair option to restore vehicles to their pre-accident condition. Research and years of experience have proven replacement airbags to be a safe option.”
ARA stated that safety tests on non-deployed OEM airbags conducted by Garwood Laboratories, Inc. (in accordance with SAE Inflator Restraints Standard SAE J1630 and Manufacturers Deployment Standards) revealed that recycled airbag use is indeed a solid option that protects the consumer. And both the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and Saskatchewan General Insurance (SGI) have been successfully using recycled airbags in repairs for many years. Before doing so, ICBC conducted testing that compared recycled and new airbags. The mix consisted of recycled airbags from domestic and Japanese manufacturers. New Ford, General Motors, Chrysler and Honda airbags of the same application as recycled ones were purchased from local dealerships for comparison to the recycled ones. The results of the test were that, effective April 2001, ICBC and body shops began utilizing recycled previously undeployed airbags supplied by ICBC/ARA “Certified” Automotive Recyclers.
ARA stated it is continuing to push for government action that will allow auto recyclers access to complete recalled part information, including a database to track air bags by serial number. And the association addressed the financial incentives body shops receive for using new parts over recycled, aftermarket or remanufactured.
“ARA aims to further the automotive recycling industry through various services and programs to increase public awareness of the industry’s role in conserving the future through automotive recycling and to foster awareness of the industry’s value as a high quality, low cost, environmentally friendly replacement parts option for consumers. Representatives of ARA are available to inform interest parties on important automotive safety and part replacement options / issues.”
To read the full statement, go to www.a-r-a.org.