The NHTSA and GM confirmed three separate cases of ARC’s airbags rupturing during deployment, but the Knoxville company refuses to accept responsibility, standing firm on its conclusion that there isn’t enough clear evidence to substantiate claims of a widespread problem with its airbags. It asserts these issues are isolated to specific manufacturing problems on the automakers’ side.
“Despite a lengthy investigation, the Agency’s current position is not based upon any objective technical or engineering conclusion regarding the existence of a defect, but rather conclusory statements regarding hypothesized blockage of the inflator orifice from “weld slag” and a subjective inference that a defect exists,” ARC said in an official response to the NHTSA. It also pointed out that the hallmark issue cited by the NHTSA was confirmed not to cause the ruptures in two of the seven cases.
The company also believes the agency is overstepping its boundaries by attempting to mandate a national recall on an equipment manufacturer, a responsibility historically placed on vehicle makers. The NHTSA will raise the issue in an upcoming public hearing, and ARC may eventually be forced to defend its position in court.
What should affected drivers do meanwhile? Plug your VIN into NHTSA’s database to see if your car is affected. If feasible, try to park your vehicle until GM fully implements its recall plan. In the meantime, the company will reportedly offer temporary rentals to concerned drivers on a case-by-case basis, so try contacting them.