Québec City, November 27, 2001 - On November 21st, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec issued a press release demanding the recall of airbags that had been rebuilt by Coussins gonflables Demers inc. because these were deemed dangerous. As stated in the press release, Québec automobile insurance corporation continued its investigation.
In light of the latest results it has obtained, the SAAQ warns against the use of any rebuilt airbags because of the high risk of injury to motor vehicle occupants into which the devices have been installed. When deployed, these handmade airbags could cause serious head or upper body injuries.
The SAAQ insists that the warning which was limited to Ford Escort and Focus models now concerns all vehicles with airbags that were replaced since 1998.
The SAAQ proceeded to ensure that the manufacture or sale of rebuilt airbags be stopped immediately through a court injunction sought against Coussins gonflables Demers inc. and National sacs gonflables inc., the two firms currently known in Québec for dealing in this kind of product.
As there might be a criminal aspect to the practice, the SAAQ asked the fraud squad of the Sûreté du Québec on November 23rd to investigate the businesses in question. The provincial police investigation is quite separate from the SAAQ's.
Vehicle owners who have any doubts about their airbags are asked to report to an authorized dealer to have them checked. This notice applies primarily to vehicle owners whose airbags have been replaced since 1998, notably the owners of rebuilt or used cars from that period.
Some rebuilt airbags were examined by road safety experts at the École polytechnique de Montréal, who had them tested by PMG Technologie at its Blainville site, revealing that there was a real danger in this type of product. The rebuilt bags clearly deployed with too much impact.
Considering the danger to vehicle occupants that the use of rebuilt airbags represents, the SAAQ urges the replacement of an airbag that has been deployed with a brand-new one. A public notice to that effect will shortly appear in daily newspapers across Québec.
Persons interested in further information are asked to call the following numbers:
Québec City: 418 643-7620
Montréal: 514 873-7620
Elsewhere in Québec: 1 800 361-7620