TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 10, 2012 – Recently, Law Enforcement officials apprehended a counterfeit airbag ring in North Carolina. The arrests lead to the confiscation of over 1,500 counterfeit airbags for a variety of manufacturers and vehicle models. Counterfeit airbags are an industry wide problem and not limited to Toyota or Lexus.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Consumer Advisory concerning counterfeit airbags and advised what consumers can do to protect themselves.
Toyota recommends the following guidelines to help consumers understand whether or not they potentially own a vehicle with counterfeit airbags:
• If the vehicle has never had the airbag(s) replaced, there is no need to be concerned.
• If the airbag was replaced by a Toyota or Lexus dealer under warranty, there is no need to be concerned.
• If the airbag(s) have been replaced at any repair facility, you should request that repair facility to provide documentation that a genuine Toyota replacement airbag was used.
• If you purchased a used vehicle and suspect it may have a counterfeit airbag, you should contact the seller to determine if a genuine Toyota replacement airbag was used.
• If the airbag(s) was previously replaced and you are unable to return to the repair facility, you should visit www.safercar.gov for additional information.
• Depending upon the quality of the counterfeit, it may not be possible to determine whether an airbag is genuine Toyota or not by a visual inspection, even if it says Toyota on the label.
• If you determine a vehicle’s airbag is counterfeit, replacement will be at your expense.
• Vehicle occupants should always wear seatbelts since they are a proven primary vehicle restraint system; the airbag system is designed to be a supplemental vehicle restraint system.
Toyota Certified Used Vehicles (TCUV) and Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles (CPO) go through an inspection process to ensure they meet our standards. During this process, the dealership verifies the vehicle’s airbag(s) are present with no evidence of deployment. Airbag deployment or any signs that airbag covers have been painted renders the vehicle permanently ineligible for certification.
Toyota has asked its dealers and associates to immediately report any suspicious airbag related activity to local law enforcement officials.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Vehicle Safety and Quality Communications
Brian R. Lyons (310) 468-2552
John Hanson (310) 468-4718