Enterprise Leaves Out Airbags on Impala Fleet

Aug 24, 2009
Enterprise Rent-a-Car saved millions of dollars by deleting side-curtain air bags from thousands of fleet vehicles, according to the Kansas City Star.

Enterprise purchased about 66,000 2006-08 model-year Chevrolet Impalas missing side-curtain airbags.  The lack of airbags saved Enterprise about $175 per vehicle, for a total savings of $11.5 million.

After the Impalas were removed from fleet service, the rental company and several dealers nationwide made the cars available for resale to consumers.  However, when the cars were advertised online, they were listed as having the missing safety feature.  745 buyers took the company up on their offer, unaware that the cars were missing side-curtain airbags.

Enterprise maintains that no federal mandates prevented them from omitting side-curtain airbags from the vehicles and stand behind their decision to do so.  The St. Louis- based company did admit, however, that they made a mistake in online advertising.  Enterprise VP for Corporate Communications Christy Conrad stated that there was a “glitch” in Enterprises’s system that listed the cars (only online) of having side-curtain airbags.

Enterprise plans to rectify the issue by sending letters to every person who bought one of the vehicles explaining the problem.  The company will also offer to buy back the cars at $750 above Kelley Blue Book

value.

Roughly 3,000 Impalas have been sold to consumers on Enterprise-owned lots, both properly and improperly advertised.

GM
says it has since discontinued the option of removing side-curtain airbags for the 2009 model year.

Remember: always make sure you know what your fleet is getting when you buy and sell vehicles. Thorough inspections and communications with sellers are essential to ensure the health of new fleet vehicles.