Consumer Protection Council, CPC, yesterday gave the franchise holders of four top world’s car brands in Nigeria a seven-day ultimatum to provide information on the status of their vehicles in relation to the faulty front passenger airbag inflators, which have prompted the recall of the brands’ implicated models from the market worldwide.
The brands’ franchise holders are Toyota Nigeria Limited, Nissan Nigeria Limited, Honda Automobile West Africa Limited and the CFAO Motors Nigeria, the franchise holders for Mitsubishi vehicles in Nigeria.
CPC, a federal government’s agency, said in a statement issued in Abuja by its deputy director of Public Relations, Mr. Abiodun Obimuyiwa, that the council’s move was part of its efforts at safeguarding the interest of consumers in the country.
The council vowed to ensure that Nigerian consumers, who purchased these implicated models from the franchise holders are not left out of the recall policy, saying that its position had been communicated to the four brands’ franchise holders.
According to the statement, CPC’s action came on the heels of the global recall of certain models of the brands from the market due to their front passenger airbag inflators’ defects.
It said, “Toyota is reportedly recalling 2.86 million vehicles, equipped with certain front passenger airbag inflators in addition to a total of 12.66 million units already recalled. Honda had recalled 19 million; Nissan is to recall 198,000, while Mitsubishi is to also recall 120,000.”
More compelling for its intervention, the council disclosed that it has begun to receive complaints regarding burst airbag, which has a correlation with the reason for the on-going recall of vehicles across the world.
The statement informed that the CPC director general, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, in letter to each of the brands’ franchise holders in Nigeria, demanded a brief on the issue of the faulty passenger airbag inflators, efforts at sensitizing the affected customers and the measures at recalling the faulty vehicles.
It added that letter requested each of the franchise holders to within seven days of the receipt of the letter, furnish the council with information on the status of their vehicles in Nigeria “in relation to concerns on the faulty front passenger airbag inflators and measures being taken to sensitise affected consumers and facilitate a quick recall of such vehicles in Nigeria, if any”.
The council hinted that it initiated the action in order to ensure that consumers, who purchased these vehicles, are not left out of the benefits of the global recall policy of the auto makers and the compensation fund that maight be set up globally for affected consumers.
It said the action has become necessary because “Nigeria is a very big market, where thousands of consumers purchase and currently possess” these brands of vehicles, which are put to personal and other uses.
It informed that the recall of the different models of vehicle brands worldwide was sparked off by announcement from the airbag maker, Takata, that millions of vehicles recalled could have been equipped with airbags that shoot shrapnel into drivers and front-seat passengers upon deployment.
Takata Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Shigehisa Takada, according to media reports, had, at a recent news conference in Tokyo, apologized for the crisis, saying his company was considering ways to help victims, including the setting up of a fund to compensate the affected consumers.
According to the media reports, the defect, thought to be linked to a chemical propellant that helps inflate the airbags, can cause them to deploy with explosive force, sending metal shrapnel towards drivers and passengers.
The defective front passenger airbag inflators have been reportedly implicated in several deadly accidents, which have resulted in eight deaths worldwide.