Driver awaiting Takata air bag repair refused loaner car

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The I-Team is investigating the waiting game to fix millions of dangerous, recalled airbags.

It's the largest recall in U.S. history affecting at least 34 million vehicles. The airbags are linked to 10 deaths and 100 injuries.

One woman called the I-Team because her dealership and manufacturer refused to provide a loaner car as she waits for repair parts.

Mary Fletcher says she won't dare put her infant son in her Audi Q5.

"Anytime I'm driving it I am putting myself and my family at risk," she said.

Instead, the SUV sits idle in her Flossmoor driveway. Fletcher walks to the Metra to get to work.

About a month ago she received this safety recall notice. Her vehicle has Takata airbags and there's a delay on replacement parts.

"The airbag can deploy and shrapnel can go into the vehicle," Fletcher said.

The recall says that could happen because the airbag inflator "could potentially rupture."

"I am extremely scared to go in the car especially because people have died because of the Takata airbag," Fletcher said.

So she sent emails asking the dealer for a loaner car.

"So I know it is at the highest level where they specifically told me it is not happening, there is absolutely no recourse. They can't provide me a loaner vehicle. I also spoke with Audi of America trying to see If they can help me or assist me," Fletcher said.

But the manufacturer also told her no. In a statement, they wrote: "Audi of America does not provide loaner vehicles. Once parts are available, customers will be contacted."

"I was horrified," Fletcher said. "And I find out it is not useable without a risk, a great risk like I am playing Russian roulette."

Audi also said: "...As NHTSA has stated: vehicles equipped with air bags, including air bags that are under recall, save lives and reduce injuries. To date, Audi is not aware of any ruptured SDI or PSDI-5 inflator in any Audi vehicle worldwide." The mailer also says the recall is a "precautionary measure."

The I-Team found that Honda, the manufacturer most affected by the recall, is authorizing its dealers and Acura dealers to provide free loaner cars.
Fletcher hopes Audi will change its policy.

"I am just looking for my safety the safety of my son," she said. "And no one can tell me when they can fix it."

Chrysler and Nissan told the I-Team that they also provide rental cars when consumers are waiting on parts connected to a dangerous recall.

There are no laws requiring manufacturers to provide loaners but you should always ask. To see if your vehicle is affected by the Takata recall, visit:
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