Honda Launches Ad Campaign to Get Vehicles in for Air Bag Repairs
In February 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) warned that nearly 90 percent of vehicles with defective Takata air bags had not yet been repaired.
This is concerning as these air bags are at risk of exploding upon deployment, shooting metal and plastic shrapnel into the interior of the vehicle and potentially injuring or even killing occupants.
So far, at least six deaths and over 100 injuries have been linked to these air bags. Takata and automakers like Honda, Toyota, and Chrysler have implemented recalls to replace them, but for various reasons, most of them have yet to be fixed.
In an effort to improve that situation, Honda has released a new regional advertisement campaign aimed at owners of vehicles with Takata air bags, urging them to take them in for repairs.
Honda Spends Millions on Air Bag Ad Campaign
According to AutoNews, Honda launched the program Monday March 16, 2015. They have taken out full-page ads in more than 120 newspapers and purchased radio spots in more than 110 regional markets. These will focus mainly on hot, humid areas of the country, since Takata’s tests on the air bags have found that heat and humidity seem to play a part in air bag malfunctions. In total, the campaign will cover only seven states. Honda also plans targeted Facebook ads to Honda and Acura vehicle owners.
Ads will include verbiage that urges owners to immediately check to see if there are any open recalls on their vehicles, and to respond by taking their cars to authorized dealers for repairs. They will also note that owners will have access to free loaner or rental cars if dealers can make immediate repairs. Altogether, the campaign is expected to cost Honda millions of dollars.
According to recent reports by the NHTSA, only 2 million vehicles out of about 17 million under recall notices have been repaired by 10 automakers affected by Takata air bag defects. In addition to vehicle owners being unaware of the problem, repairs have also been delayed by a lack of replacement parts, as Takata and automakers struggle to ramp up production to meet supply demands.
Additional Efforts to Contact Honda Owners
It makes sense that Honda is taking action on this, as they have installed more Takata air bags than any other automaker. So far, they have recalled 5.4 million vehicles for repairs. In addition to the national ad campaign, they have also launched a global investigative recall, in which they are testing recalled air bags in the effort to discover exactly what is causing them to malfunction.
Honda has also reached out to owners, sending out millions of recall notices and additional mailers to notify people of the issue. Meanwhile, Takata has refused to expand its initial regional recalls, despite being urged by the NHTSA to go nationwide with them. That has left it up to automakers to take the additional steps needed to protect public safety.
Drivers who were injured in a vehicle with a Takata air bag may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover damages. Currently, all federal Takata air bag lawsuits are pending in the Southern District of Florida.