In Georgia, June has been declared Airbag Recall Repair Month by Check To Protect. And in Arizona, Governor Ducey has also declared June Airbag Recall Repair Month. It’s in response to the hundreds of thousands of vehicles still driving in the states with outstanding airbag recalls. Years after the recalls were initially introduced, it continues to be an issue that needs to be addressed by not just the vehicles’ owners but by franchised dealerships too.
The Check To Protect initiative in both Arizona and Georgia is in partnership with local Stellantis dealerships, and it has identified that the recalls disproportionately affect low-income earners and those who live in predominantly non-English communities. To emphasize the importance of getting the recalls performed, vehicle owners will receive a $50 prepaid Mastercard if their vehicle requires repairs under the recall.
The campaign brings to light the infamous Takata airbag inflator recall that has slowly faded from the headlines but continues to plague vehicles on America’s roads. Exposed to heat and humidity – conditions that are prevalent in most US states throughout the summer – the airbags can cause more injury than they prevent in a collision.
According to the most recent update from the NHTSA in 2020, approximately 50 million of 67 million Takata airbag inflator recalls in the United States have been addressed and repaired. However, as of that time, it leaves around 17 million airbags unrepaired or otherwise unaccounted for. That’s a serious issue for driver safety, and it’s one that dealers can help address.
Initiate local campaigns
It seems like old news, but the message is no less important. Takata airbag inflators aren’t just causing casualty statistics – they’re hurting people who might live near your dealership. Create a social media campaign that targets low-income and non-English neighborhoods to initiate checking for outstanding recalls and having them performed. Some dealers like Fox Toyota in Auburn, NY, offer a free loaner or valet service to get it completed.
Airbag recalls are not a huge moneymaker for your service and parts departments, but the need is great. Your ad spend might not even cover the revenue generated by the recalls themselves. However, it is taking dangerous parts off the roads and has the potential to create new clients.
Check every vehicle in for service
The standard operating procedure for service advisors includes checking every single VIN on every vehicle that comes through the service drive for outstanding recalls. That process can get lax at times, but it could leave the dealership exposed to some degree of liability if a recall isn’t discovered. It’s imperative that every vehicle has the VIN checked for recalls and an immediate repair plan executed to get it corrected.
Repair trades and wholesale units
For vehicles coming in on trade, whether to be wholesaled or retailed, there’s no excuse for outstanding recalls. Each trade-in should likewise be checked for outstanding recalls by the sales manager or reconditioning staff. If it’s an off-make, outstanding recalls can still be checked through Carfax. Then, get them repaired before putting them for sale on the lot, no matter how dire your inventory situation may be. Consider auditing your inventory today to check for outstanding recalls.
Establish June as your Airbag Recall Repair Month, whether it’s part of the Check To Protect program or not. It could make your neighbors safer and generate a small amount of service and parts revenue.
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