AutoNation stop sales of vehicles affected by Takata airbag recall

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 30, 2014

AutoNation Inc. has halted sales of used vehicles affected by the Takata Corp. airbag recalls and warnings. According to AutoNation spokesman Marc Cannon, the move affects less than 400 vehicles. The company’s chief executive, Mike Jackson, has called for carmakers to act as one instead of offering different responses.

He quipped that “some entity” should make the move for the auto industry and tell affected carmakers of what they should do. He noted that the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has a “Tower of Babel” with regards to the issue.

NHTSA, a part of the US Transportation Department, is the agency in charge of highway safety in the country. In fact, NHTSA issued last week confusing information about the recall. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has remarked that he has already asked the DOT inspector general's office to review NHTSA's handling of the Takata matter.

"I've also asked our team to do a due diligence review," Foxx said. Jackson disclosed that carmakers are giving different and conflicting guidance to AutoNation with regards to the affected vehicles. For instance, he said, a carmaker urged dealers to tell consumers to continue driving an affected model since the chance of an incident was rare.

On the other hand, another carmaker said that if the passenger-side airbag is potentially defective, the component should be disconnected and owners should not let any passengers in the front seats until the airbag is fixed.

At least four deaths as well as over 30 injuries in the US are tied to Takata airbags deploying with too much force and spraying metal shrapnel. Around 10 carmakers have already recalled 7.8 million vehicles fitted with the airbag. They, however, are unlikely to shift to another supplier in the short term since doing so could be very costly and could cause disruption, Reuters recently reported.

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