National air bag recall hits Hampton Roads auto dealers

Daily Press

HAMPTON — The calls have been steady, and the inquires limitless at the Priority Honda dealership in Hampton.

"We've definitely experienced an increase in calls," said Dan Asble, Priority Honda Hampton service adviser. "Many of them are asking about the air bag recall and seeing if their vehicle is on the list."

Nearly 8 million vehicles have been recalled nationwide after National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials discovered significant defects caused some air bags to explode on impact, leading to significant injury or death.

Takata Corp., a Japanese-based manufacturer and supplier of automotive safety equipment, has set aside $696 million to handle the air bag replacements and is now considering an additional $19 million to $28 million, quarterly, to cover projected air bag replacement costs.

It's one of the largest automotive recalls in U.S. history.

If a vehicle is identified as being affected by the recall, the dealership will replace the air bag at no cost to the owner. Many of the vehicles affected involve various brands from 10 automakers: Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

The recall reminder is most "urgent" for vehicle owners who reside in humid and hot climates throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and the U.S. island territories.

While Virginia was not included on the urgent list, federal officials ask consumers to contact their respective vehicle's automaker if unsure about whether their vehicle could be affected.

"Responding to these recalls … is essential to personal safety," National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in a news release. "It will help aid our ongoing investigation into Takata air bags and what appears to be a problem related to extended exposure to consistently high humidity and temperatures. However, we're leaving no stone unturned in our aggressive pursuit to track down the full geographic scope of this issue."

Cassandra Chappell, appointments coordinator with Newport News-based Casey BMW, said its parts and service department has had an increase in calls about the recall.

"We've done some repairs," Chappell said, adding the dealership is setting up appointments with customers to make the fix.

Chris Culp, Casey BMW parts and service manager, said eight to nine appointments have been set up for the week. He said the dealership continues to order air bag replacements to ensure all affected customers can have their air bags replaced.

"In some cases, the vehicles in question have changed hands to new owners," Culp said. "So when a recall goes out, we get flooded with calls from people wanting to know if they are affected."

Asble agreed, adding that vehicle owners should locate their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) before bringing their vehicle to the dealership.

Each vehicle receives a unique VIN, a 17-character combination of letters and numbers, typically found on a metal plate on the dashboard near the windshield on the driver's side, Asble said. Vehicle owners also can check the driver's side door jamb; or the vehicle's title, registration or insurance information to retrieve their VIN.

"Before they bring their cars in, we ask that they call us with their VIN so we can run the number and see if their car is affected," Asble said. "That will help us know whether or not they need to have their air bag replaced."

Reuters contributed to this report. O'Neal can be reached by phone at 757-247-4744.

The recall

BMW

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler

2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500

2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500

2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500

2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500

2008 – Dodge Ram 5500

2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango

2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota

2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300

2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford

2004 – Ranger

2005 – 2006 GT

2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors

2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe

2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda

2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)

2001 – 2002 Honda Accord

2001 – 2005 Honda Civic

2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 – 2011 Honda Element

2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 – Honda Ridgeline

2003 – 2006 Acura MDX

2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL

2005 – Acura RL

Mazda

2003 – 2007 Mazda6

2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6

2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8

2004 – 2005 MPV

2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi

2004 – 2005 Lancer

2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan

2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra

2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru

2003 – 2005 Baja

2003 – 2005 Legacy

2003 – 2005 Outback

2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota

2002 – 2005 Lexus SC

2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla

2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia

2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

By the numbers

7.8 million vehicles recalled

10 automakers affected

$696 million set aside by Takata for air bag replacements

4 deaths linked to defective air bags

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