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Airbag Failure Leaves Canadian Scratching His Head

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Hamilton, ONA recent addition to the General Motors lineup advertised as making a significant impact around the globe, did not leave the best impression on the owner of a Chevrolet Cruze when an impact failed to deploy one of the car's ten on-board airbags. The failure leaves the frustrated owner to stew about the potential for defective airbags, and what may have happened if the accident had been any worse than it actually was…

As recently described to Action Line, a service of the Hamilton Spectator (6/21/12), Brian Saunders was miffed at the car's air bag system after he was hit on the passenger side of his car, and the vehicle wound up striking a steel pole.

"We have a 2012 Chevy Cruze," Brian Saunders told Action Line. "This car is advertised as having 10 airbags, leading one to believe it's a very safe vehicle."

According to Action Line, quoting the manufacturer's user guide for that vehicle the complement of airbags include side airbags and curtain airbags, as well as the standard frontal impact airbags.

The airbag failure left the Hamiltonian wondering at the body shop why the air bags did not deploy. They were told the failure occurred because the points of impact happened between the sensors.

"We feel the advertising (claims about the safety) of this car aren't completely true," he told the Spectator in an interview. "We also have OnStar in this vehicle. If you're involved in an accident, they are supposed to contact you to ask if you need help. But that only works if the airbags deploy. If GM can put 10 airbags in the car, why can't they put in more sensors?"

Airbag injury did not come into play here, as the airbags failed to deploy. However there was an injury to a passenger in the car, for which the individual required hospital treatment. There was also $11,000 in damage done to the car.

Saunders did not articulate to the Hamilton Spectator if he is considering an airbag lawsuit.

Defective airbags can injure when they deploy needlessly. But they can also injure, in a related sense, if they fail to deploy when the severity of an accident warrants their deployment. In this case, an accident of sufficient intensity to involve two points of impact and an $11,000 repair bill, not to mention an injury to an occupant, did not deploy any of the 10 airbags on board.

It is not known if GM Canada plans an airbag recall. It is also not known if versions of the Chevy Cruze sold in the US could potentially suffer from the same problem, and if this case is a sign of a deficiency of sensors needed to deploy the 10-airbag system, or if this is a one-of-a-kind event. Last month, as reported by, General Motors for recalled the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu due to airbag issues.


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