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DATE: August 31, 1993

FROM: Joey Ferrari -- Director Technical Sales, Grant Products

TO: Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA

TITLE: None

ATTACHMT: Attached to letter dated 10/6/93 from John Womack to Joey Ferrari (A41; Std. 208; VSA 108(a)(2)(A))

TEXT:

I am writing this to you at the advice of Mr. Jettner.

Grant Products is an automotive parts manufacturer and our main product line is aftermarket steering wheels. With the arrival of the air bag, we have been careful to specifically state that our products are not applicable to any air bag equipped vehicle since we do not manufacture an air bag.

We receive many inquiries from both repair shops and private individuals asking if our products will fit their vehicles originally air bag equipped. Some say they don't want or like the air bag, but most calls are after an accident where the bag has deployed. Upon finding out how expensive it is to replace the air bag system (especially if they don't have insurance) people call us.

My questions are asked relating to our possible liability exposure if someone uses our products (without an air bag) in place of the factory wheel that was originally equipped with an air bag system.

1. If a vehicle is originally equipped with an air bag, must it have an operable air bag system for its entire useful life?

2. If a repair shop removes an operating air bag system and replaces it with a Grant product not having an air bag: A. Is this legal or illegal?

B. If illegal which party is liable?

3. If a private individual removes an operating air bag system and replaces it with a Grant product not having an air bag: A. Is this legal or illegal?

B. If illegal which party is liable?

4. After an accident in which the air bag was deployed, must a repair shop or individual replace the air bag and/or system so that it is again operable as originally equipped?

5. After an accident in which the air bag was deployed, can a repair shop or individual replace the air bag with a Grant product not having an air bag?

6. Upon resale of a vehicle from the first owner (individual) to a second or subsequent owner, must the vehicle have an operable air bag system as originally equipped?

7. If we have a potential liability exposure for someone suing our products to replace an original air bag, what do we need to do to limit this exposure?

I look forward to hearing your responses to my questions. Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.