Call Kurtis: Deadly Airbags Are Still On The Road

ELK GROVE (CBS13) – The Takata airbag recall is so huge that carmakers can’t get all the vehicles on the road fixed right away.

And with the reported deaths, Elk Grove couple Judi and Jim Braddy say they don’t want to drive their 2013 Volkswagen Golf in the meantime.

Judi says her Golf doesn’t see much time on the road these days.

“If I drive it at all, it’s just to the store and back,” said Judi.

It has been recalled over its Takata airbag, just like 29 million other cars tied to 14 carmakers.

The airbag issue is now blamed for 11 deaths and more than a hundred injuries.

“They have no idea when the part is going to be available,” said Judi.

With seven months left on their lease, Judi and Jim just want it fixed or want to trade in their Golf early.

“My biggest fear is that something could happen to my wife or…granddaughter,” said Jim.

We reached out to Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety to get an idea of the size of this recall.

“This is a huge problem for consumers who can’t get their cars fixed,” said Shahan.

She says with the massive repair backlog, anyone who feels unsafe should demand a loaner car.

But what if the car company says refuses?

Shahan says, “I wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

But that didn’t work for the Braddys; they say Volkswagen refused to provide a loaner car.

“Seriously, you can’t provide a rental car?” Judi says she asked the company.

While most carmakers are handling loaner cars on a case-by-case basis, we’ve learned things are different at Volkswagen, who told us they do not have an alternate transportation program.

We asked Volkswagen if they’d take back the Braddy’s leased Golf early, and they replied they do not have an early lease turn-in program concerning this matter.

Jim questions Volkswagen’s business practices.

“How important is taking care of the people who buy your cars?” he asks.

When their lease is up, the Braddys aren’t sure they’ll get another Volkswagen. Until then, their Golf will be seeing a lot of garage time.

“What am I supposed to do in the meantime, just not drive?” said Judi.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 70 million airbags are or will be recalled by 2019.

To date, just more than 12 million airbags have been replaced. Meanwhile, car manufacturers are waiting on replacement parts and dealerships are taking the heat from angry customers waiting for the backlogged parts.

Last year, California dealers supported AB 287 that would force manufacturers to give you a loaner car. But that portion of the bill was removed by the author before the governor signed it.

RELATED: Full text of AB 287

Entire statement from Volkswagen:

“Parts required to complete this recall are not yet available, therefore the dealership is unable to complete the recall repair at this time. Once replacement parts are available, the customer will receive an additional letter directing the customer to schedule this repair with the authorized Volkswagen dealer.

At this time, Volkswagen does not have an alternate transportation program.

Jeannine Ginivan
Sr. Manager, Corporate and Internal Communications
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.”

The Braddys say Volkswagen couldn’t repair the airbag until March 2017, so they decided to pay more than $1,100 to terminate their lease early. They say they’ll never but another Volkswagen.

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