NHTSA may ask non-dealer repair shops to help with Takata airbag recall work

NHTSA may ask non-dealer repair shops to help with Takata airbag recall work

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials said last week that the services of independent repair shops may be sought to deal with the massive Takata airbag recall, which affects nearly 23 million vehicles manufactured by 12 automakers.

The Takata airbag recall has already been described as the most complex auto safety recall effort in US history. The recall involves the gargantuan task of replacing millions of defective Takata airbags inflators in US vehicles.

Since the replacement of defective Takata airbag inflators underscores a mammoth effort, Stephen Ridella -- the NHTSA’s director of vehicle crashworthiness research -- said in an October 22 briefing that non-dealer service shops may be asked to help with the recall repairs.

The move which Ridella has hinted at would be an unprecedented one because, thus far, recall repairs can be carried out only by franchised new-car dealers.

About a possible role for non-dealer repair shops to assist with the Takata airbag inflator replacements, Ridella said: "If dealers for a vehicle manufacturer are unable to keep up with the demand for replacements even though plenty of parts are available, we may consider allowing repair shops or other facilities to complete recall repairs."

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