Car Rental Companies Warned GM About Airbag Issues

Canada GM recallsA new report suggests that seven years ago Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. contacted General Motors about investigating a fatal rollover crash in California wherein the airbag in a Chevrolet Cobalt did not deploy.

The information was reported on July 31 by Bloomberg who reports that Vanguard was not the only car rental company that notified the automaker about these issues.

To date, GM has recalled nearly 30 million cars worldwide; more than 800,000 have been recalled in Canada

In Sept. 2006, the driver of a Chevrolet Cobalt rented from Alamo lost control of his vehicle on a clear day. The sedan got caught in a gravel median and overturned. The drivers seatbelt was buckled, but the airbag did not deploy which could have been one of the causes of his untimely death.

A Vanguard claims adjuster wrote to GM and suggested the company open a claim and inspect the vehicle for possible defects.

Customer-service call transcripts, warranty records and police reports indicate that Enterprise Holdings Inc. had pressed the automaker about a potential Cobalt defect as well. Avis Budget group Inc. and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. also said they had Cobalts in their fleet that crashed.

In 2005, a woman and her ex-husband were killed in a March 2005 car crash after the driver lost control of a Saturn Ion she had rented from Enterprise. The car rental company asked GM to investigate and inspect the vehicle. Two months after the initial request, records show that Enterprises contractor, ELCO, told GM it had the vehicle inspected, but did not find a defect or malfunction.

In January 2006, a police report indicated that the airbags of a Chevrolet Cobalt rented form Enterprise did not deploy after the vehicle slipped off the road and slammed into a tree.

Although reports indicate that there was an effort to gather information about the accidents from rental companies, none of the inquiries from the NHTSA or responses from GM gave the agency enough evidence to open a formal investigation.

It is estimated that nine cars owned by rental companies are included in the investigators evaluation of airbag failures as a result of a faulty ignition switch. The location of these accidents has not been specified, however, many of these rental car companies can be found throughout Canada.

Have you or someone you love been involved in an accident that may have been associated with a defective General Motors vehicle? If so, contact the personal injury lawyers at the law office of Greg Monforton & Partners today.

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