By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- December 18, 2015 -- Last week American Honda Motor Company announced a new program that recruits independent mechanical repair and collision repair facilities to identify vehicles with faulty Takata airbags and help notify clients.
The auto industry is dealing with the single largest recall in history. This is not like recalls we’ve seen before, where one company has to recall a particular make and model, or even several. Defective Takata airbags may be present in vehicles from numerous manufacturers. The job of notifying drivers and getting the bags replaced is a massive undertaking. To help make affected customers aware, American Honda has announced a new program that will get collision repair centres involved in the recall effort. Collision Repair magazine has recently learned that a modified version of the program will be coming to Canada.
“The poster program will be happening in the Canadian market as well,” says Ken Dick, Senior Manager, Product Regulation and Quality Engineering at Honda Canada.
The Canadian program is very similar to the one being rolled out in the US. In that program, American Honda will provide posters to collision repair facilities that identify what makes of cars are involved. The shops will be asked to let drivers know if the car brought into the shop is one involved in the recall. American Honda has also created downloadable posters shops can use to help identify the vehicles. If customers come in to a collision repair centre with one of the vehicles involved in the recall, Honda is asking employees at that centre to notify the client their car is involved in the recall (assuming the airbags are undeployed by the time the car gets to the shop). The company wants shop employees to refer those clients to a Honda or Acura dealer or get permission to arrange the recall repair. American Honda indicated last week it will send out an email to more than 50,000 independent mechanical repair shops and collision facilities in the US describing the program.
“Consumer safety is everyone’s responsibility,” says Bruce Smith, Senior Vice President for American Honda’s parts and service division. “The purpose of this initiative is to help create awareness for your customers and make it easy for your service writers and estimators to check each customer’s car to see if it has an open recall. With your help, we can ensure our customers, friends, and loved ones are driving a safe vehicle.”
In Canada, the posters will be sent out by Chris Hogg, Business Planning Specialist at Honda Canada. As it is, there are some slight differences between the vehicles affected in Canada and the US. “Our poster isn't identical. Our affected models and model years are slightly different,” says Ken Dick.
The Canadian recall is also on a slightly different schedule in terms of timing. It seems temperature and high absolute humidity have an effect on the likelihood of an inflator rupture. So the program was rolled out in the southern US first. “The recall repair process is following the United States by about six months. The initial focus was on the higher risk areas with high temperatures and humidity, so that's why repairs are ramping up a little later in Canada,” says Ken Dick.