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Airbags Changing Vehicle Scrappage Age Mix

Increasing damage from multiple airbags (as newer vehicles have more airbags) is scrapping many vehicles that would otherwise be repaired and returned to operation.

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According to a report from Aftermarket Insight, increasing damage from multiple airbags (as newer vehicles have more airbags) is scrapping many vehicles that would otherwise be repaired and returned to operation.

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“Not reflected in overall scrappage rates is the ongoing shift in the age of vehicles scrapped in the U.S.,” said Jim Lang, president of Lang Marketing Resources, Inc. “As a result of airbag deployment, many vehicles which on the basis of collision damage alone would not be scrapped are heading to the junkyard. Deployment of a single airbag (some vehicles have up to eight airbags) will cause most vehicles at least seven years old to be scrapped."

The report stated that last year in the U.S., airbags deployed in over 1.2 million vehicles. Vehicle damage resulting from airbag deployment ranges from $1,200 to over $6,000 per bag depending on the location of the bag (dashboard, door, etc.) and the type of vehicle in which it deploys.

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If multiple bags deploy (some new vehicles have up to eight), airbags can cause additional damage (beyond the crash itself) sufficient to scrap even new and expensive vehicles.

The report stated that as newer vehicles are scrapped because of airbag deployment, increasing scrappage rates will not necessarily reduce the average age of vehicles. As long as new vehicle volume remains relatively low versus the nearly 17 million average-annual sales from 1999 to 2006 and scrappage remains relatively moderate, a growing share of scrappage will occur among vehicles below the 10.6-year average-vehicle age. This, the report predicted, will boost the age level of vehicles in the U.S. 

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More information:

Aftermarket Insight

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