The Association of Global Automakers has urged US consumers to ensure only original equipment replacement airbags are used a vehicle is repaired after a collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a consumer alert warning of the dangers of counterfeit airbags, which may have been installed in the last three years by someone other than an authorised dealer.

"Counterfeit replacement airbags are a serious safety problem," said Mike Stanton, Global Automakers president and CEO. "Only original equipment replacement airbags should be used in a repair to ensure that the vehicle performs as designed in the event of a crash."

Consumers who have had their airbag replaced in the last three years by someone other than an authorised dealer, or do not know their vehicles' history, are being encouraged to contact NHTSA.

"We want to make sure vehicles on the road are as safe as possible," said Stanton.  "That is why we are fully cooperating with NHTSA to help get this message out. While NHTSA thinks this is limited to a small number of vehicles, it is important that consumers verify that their vehicles have original equipment replacement airbags."