Mayors, owners of 4,133 Toyota vehicles  can get gas or cash to promote airbags fix

AIRBAG REPLACEMENT: The Atkins Kroll facility in Tamuning as seen on Tuesday. Atkins Kroll asked mayors' help in tracking down more than 4,000 other owners of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2017 for Takata airbag replacement. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Atkins Kroll Inc. on Tuesday asked mayors for help in finding the owners of more than 4,000 Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2017, so that their Takata airbags can be replaced for safety.

Each vehicle owner would also receive a $20 Shell gas voucher for every qualified vehicle brought in for Takata airbag replacement, while mayors' offices would earn $30 cash for every vehicle owner they refer to Atkins Kroll.

Mayors' offices also could earn an extra $500 for referring the most number of qualified vehicles at the end of the program, as well as $250 for referring the most every month. Mayors said the cash could be used for village programs.

Atkins Kroll's Takata airbag safety campaign runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Awards and payouts for mayors' offices would be in January 2022.

The Takata airbag safety recall is the largest automotive safety recall in U.S. history, affecting 19 automotive brands with Takata airbag inflators, and not just Toyota, Lexus or Scion.

Atkins Kroll Business Development Director Ernie Galito, the guest speaker at the Mayors' Council of Guam's first Zoom meeting, said at the heart of the Takata recall and replacement effort is the safety of drivers and the community in general. 

Atkins Kroll is the dealership for Toyota and Lexus on Guam.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, some of the Takata airbags could deploy explosively with long-term exposure to high heat and humidity, exposing occupants to possible injury or death.

The problem is the airbag's inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers which, in some cases, has ignited with explosive force.

No incident involving Takata airbags has happened on Guam, Galito told mayors.

Galito said Atkins Kroll has contacted and repaired over 70% of the affected vehicles on Guam, but there are still at least 4,133 vehicles that the automotive supplier is trying to track down.

Some of the remaining vehicles may have changed ownership a few times, and some may have not registered them at all. Atkins Kroll has been working with the Department of Revenue and Taxation on the matter, Galito said.

MCOG President Jesse Alig, mayor of Piti, said the mayors' council would help with the airbags recall program for the safety of motorists, while also raising funds for village programs. "Yes, the mayors are a very competitive group," he said.

Even abandoned Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles by the side of the road with the Takata airbags qualify for the airbag replacement, because these cars could eventually be tinkered with or fixed and then used again, Galito said. 

This is not the first time that Atkins Kroll has worked with village mayors on a safety or environmental concern. Atkins Kroll also partnered with mayors in the collection of 555 used and discarded batteries from April 22 to May 27 as part of an islandwide effort to recycle hazardous chemicals.

Atkins Kroll provided an incentive of $10 to the mayor's office for every used and discarded battery they collected.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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