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AutoBlog: REPORT: Enterprise sold cars after removing side impact airbags

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Filed under: Car Buying, Safety

enterprise-impala.jpg

Enterprise, the country's largest car rental and fleet agency, is finding itself in hot water after purposely deleting standard safety equipment from some 66,000 Chevrolet Impalas it purchased between 2006 and 2008 for its nation-wide fleet of rental cars. The full-size Chevy comes fitted standard with side-impact curtain airbags, but Enterprise chose to have the equipment removed to save the cost.

In an investigative piece broken by the Kansas City Star, industry sources say that deleting "unwanted equipment" can save fleet buyers like Enterprise significant costs, especially advantageous in the highly competitive rental car business where the lowest price is often the determining factor for many customers. By removing the airbags from the Impalas, Enterprise was said to have saved $11.5 million.

The rental company also acknowledged having ordered some 5,000 Chevrolet Cobalts and Buick LaCrosses with the airbags removed at the factory. The placement of side-impact curtain airbags has been shown to dramatically reduce the number of fatalities from side collisions, the second most deadly type of accident after head-on collisions. Although the airbags came as standard equipment on the Impala, as well as the Cobalt and LaCrosse, federal safety regulations did not mandate their inclusion, therefor Enterprise broke no law in removing them. Research discovered at least five fatal side-impact collisions involving fleet-purchased Impalas from various companies.

To make matters worse, however, Enterprise reportedly sold 745 Impalas on the open market, falsely advertised as having the side airbags when they did not. Enterprise says the listing that specified the cars in question had the airbags was simply "a glitch in the system", and offered as recourse to buy back the cars from their new owners for $750 over their Blue Book value. That works out to $175 more than the cars would have costed with the airbags installed as standard equipment from the factory.

[source: The Kansas City Star via CBS]

Continue reading REPORT: Enterprise sold cars after removing side impact airbags

REPORT: Enterprise sold cars after removing side impact airbags originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Aug 2009 13:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Enterprise loves to jerk people around. Hertz is by far a superior company.

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Pathetic cheap bastards. What kind of f*cking trash organization would order airbags removed???

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Wow, that's unacceptable. And if I were GM, I wouldn't allow fleet sales of any vehicle with safety features intentionally removed.

Did these vehicles have the "airbag" trim piece still on the pillars??

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I don't see a problem with them ordering the cars without the airbags, but it should have been clearly disclosed when selling the cars to the public considering they were standard on all other Impalas, so the lack of the side airbags was a special case that the typical consumer would not be aware of.

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I don't see a problem with them ordering the cars without the airbags, but it should have been clearly disclosed when selling the cars to the public considering they were standard on all other Impalas, so the lack of the side airbags was a special case that the typical consumer would not be aware of.

Agreed.

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