Enterprise Rent-A-Car Deletes Impala Standard Side Airbags

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The Chevy Impala already gets dumped on for being a fleet queen holdover, but a Kansas City Star investigation reveals that it might not actually be fleety enough for buyers like Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It turns out that Enterprise ordered 66,000 Impalas from GM without the side airbags that are standard equipment on all retail Impalas. Worse still, hundreds of these Impalas were sold with the side bags listed as standard equipment. Enterprise saved $175 on each Impala by deleting the bags, for a total of about $11.5 million in savings. Thanks to the misleading online sales though, Enterprise is offering to buy back the nearly 750 Impalas sold under false pretenses for $750 over Kelly Blue Book Value. Beyond that effort though, Enterprise is defending its standard safety feature deletion by arguing that it never violated any federal mandate. Congratulations, guys, you aren’t criminals. Meanwhile, when it comes to buying fleet vehicles, buyer beware.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • INeon INeon on Aug 18, 2009

    Mr. Berkowitz: My Mother bought a previously-rented 2006 Dodge Stratus in late 2007. In this transaction, the window sticker wasn't even consulted. No one should take a used vehicle's window sticker as gospel. No one. Not whenever new car's stickers can be(and sometimes, are) wrong. She checked the car for aesthetics, ergonomics and equipment she wanted. I checked the car from a mechanical/value/enthusiast angle. There are 3 horizontal lines in a rounded-corner block pressed-into the tops of the B-pillars in this car. It has no side airbags! You're introducing noise into this argument that needn't be here. If the cars don't have airbags, and retain the identifier they do-- sure there's a problem. That was never mentioned. What was mentioned was the author's opinion that Enterprise and GM have put people at risk, and at their own expense. This is an issue, he forgot to include blame for the consumer for not having inspected goods prior to purchase. Airbags are required by law to be easily identifiable in automobiles equipped with them. This is why those 3 little letters were mentioned in my original response-- SRS = airbag. Blanks, no looptag on the seat, or plain pillar/dash cover = no airbag. It's that simple. I'm all for protecting the consumer, but in this case it's a non-issue. Shall I repeat information from the original article? Only 750 of the cars were sold under these false pretenses. Of 66,000, 65,250 people didn't fall victim to this 'blatant' advantage-taking scheme. The number of affected consumers is small enough for this to be a mistake, and not some nefarious plot on the parts of GM and Enterprise. Mr. Neidermeyer: We need to know if the vehicles included SRS identifiers to further this argument.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Aug 18, 2009

    @taxman and all:Amen My last car had ABS, traction control, front airbags, etc [99 Cavalier]. It was totalled in a rear ender by some guy in a BMW. I was in the left hand turn lane stopped for a red arrow at 5 a.m. a block or two from my job. It was replaced by a 2005 ION without ABS or traction control. I am now "less safe" by a factor of what? And have never had side airbags. I feel less safe by a factor of zero simply because I don't live in the land of "what if." Props to the poster who suggested there are people out there who prefer their rides with fewer electronic accessories or mumbo jumbo because over time they are less expensive to repair. Even the ION has too much electro-nonsense : electronic throttle and steering assist.[Thankfully no power seats, windows,locks. This is GM you know...] I am one of those people for whom the added weight, expense and complexity of On Star, heated windshield wiper fluid, Power seats, windows, NAV and the multi vibrating auto-set prostate prober of dubious utility. This fleet Impala sounds just like my cup of tea in a larger domestic. Just keep talking them down. The more you do, the better deal I get on one. @ Justin Berkowitz: No Happy Motoring,everyone.

  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Aug 18, 2009

    "I certainly wouldn’t want to own any car I’ve ever rented." Sir, I hope I am never your landlord.

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