Enterprise Rental Sold Cars Without Side Air Bags To Cut Costs

August 17, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Enterprise Rent-A-Car was caught recently week selling used rental vehicles without standard safety features, while advertising online that the cars came equipped with them. An investigation by the Kansas City Star discovered that Enterprise originally requested that the side-air bags be deleted from a purchase of thousands of Chevrolet Impala vehicles.

The 2006-08 model Chevrolet Impalas came equipped with side-curtain air bags as a standard safety feature, which has been shown to save lives. Because the side air bags are not federally mandated, as yet, Enterprise was able to purchase about 66,000 Impalas without the safety feature, saving an estimated 11.5 million.

After the vehicles served their usefulness as rental vehicles, they were sold in the open market as former “program cars.” Kansas City Star found that vehicles were falsely listed on Enterprise’s Websites, as including the side-curtain air bags.

Christy Conrad, Enterprise’s vice president for corporate communications, called the false online listings “a glitch in the system,” and promised to send letters to all the buyers of the vehicles, notifying them of the deleted side-air bags. The company also plans to offer to buy back the vehicles, regardless of condition, at $750 above Kelley Blue Book value.

Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute noted that Enterprise’s policy of deleting standard safety features from its cars to save money, misrepresents the safety of its vehicles to not only purchasers, but rental customers as well, who have a reasonable expectation that the vehicles are equipped with standard safety equipment.

“My personal view is that the liability concern alone would raise a lot of red flags if I were an official at Enterprise, looking to purchase cars that would be rented,” said Rader.

Source


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