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Hyundai slashes prices to attack ‘unsafe’ airbags

Hyundai slashes prices to attack ‘unsafe’ airbags

Hyundai has come out against the use of second-hand airbags … and has put its money where its mouth is on the price of new spares.

From 1 July Hyundai Automotive New Zealand is slashing the cost of replacement airbags, typically to less than half, to help stamp out what it terms an unsafe practice.

Fitting bags from wrecked cars is becoming more common because new spares can be too expensive and current laws allow the practice.

But Hyundai, deeply concerned about the safety of used airbags, is selling all SRS components – airbags and control units – at cost price plus a nominal handling fee for distribution within the industry.

For most models the cost will be less than half previously. For example, the recommended retail for the driver’s front airbag on Hyundai’s popular Getz small car drops from $1100 to $510.

Hyundai says on even its most expensive models, the complete SRS package will cost less than $3,000.

The comparison cost on a typical competitor, Toyota Corolla, is approximately $5,200.

“The price for these components on some common models can be up to $8,000, commented the General Manager of HANZ Philip Eustace.

“As a rough guide, the larger the car the higher the airbag price.

“This is why we are increasingly hearing about people fitting second-hand airbags,” Mr Eustace explained.

“The thinking is that airbags which have not been deployed are OK to take out of a wrecked car and fit into another vehicle.

“But there’s no effective way to check if the bags really are still in perfect working order … except to set them off of course, and then they’re of no use.”

Mr Eustace says the problem threatens to become endemic in the industry.

“It’s been attractive to re-use airbags because the cost of replacement parts was so high.

“You might have a relatively minor collision with replacement panel parts and labour costing say a couple of thousand dollars. But add on eight thousand for new airbags because the originals have deployed, and often the insurance companies simply write the car off.

“That’s where the temptation comes in to take a chance and re-use old airbags.

“At Hyundai we believe it is an unsafe practice which must be stamped out,” stated Mr Eustace.

“We hope this will set a benchmark for the industry, for the safety of every road user.”

Last year Hyundai set a precedent when it made dual front airbags and ABS braking with EBD standard in all of its vehicles.

As well as these safety features, all Hyundai passenger vehicles are sold in New Zealand with Roadside Assist throughout the three-year warranty period, plus a Convenience Pack with full electrics, CD player, air conditioning, central locking with keyless entry, and anti-theft alarm with engine immobiliser.
Hyundai is noted as a mass-market leader in safety initiatives, focused on reliability and quality as well as value. The Hyundai group is now the seventh largest car manufacturer in the world and aims for the top five by the end of the decade.

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