Auto Service World
News   December 20, 2018   by Allan Janssen

Project to use peer-to-peer influence to complete airbag recalls

A first-of-its-kind program will offer people incentives for alerting friends and family about deadly airbags.

Carma Project, a newly established peer-to-peer safety platform, has launched the first-ever social program designed exclusively for accelerating consumer response to automotive recalls.

The first campaign will a collaboration with Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) to help address the recall of deadly Takata airbags.

The recall, labeled “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history” by the U.S.-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), continues to impact vehicles built by 19 different automakers, with a projected 70 million airbags expected to be recalled by the end of 2019. In the face of more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of alleged injuries industry-wide, millions of drivers and passengers continue to be at risk.

Despite extensive efforts by manufacturers, such as recall letters, public service announcements, and dealer interventions, consumer response to fixing these potentially life-threatening airbags continues to be lower than hoped, with one out of every three affected airbags still unrepaired.

“We know that friends and family can play a powerful role in influencing how people make decisions about safety,” said Toyota Motor North America’s vice president of product quality and service support Tom Trisdale. “Our partnership with Carma Project is designed to motivate and incentivize people to share critical information about the recall, including how to get the remedy for free.”

Carma Project was designed to facilitate the process of people helping people by alerting them to life-threatening automotive recalls. By combining the trust of word-of-mouth communication within a game design that infuses incentives for individuals alerting their friends and family, Carma Project hopes to connect Toyota with hard-to-reach owners who haven’t responded to the Takata recall.

“We’ve built a similar solution in healthcare and have seen it work,” said Carma Project CEO Fabio Gratton. “Companies struggle to identify participants for clinical trials, because they are hard to find and oftentimes ignore industry outreach. But a friend or family member has that trust, access, and influence to ensure that those people learn about these trials and ultimately receive those potentially life-saving medications. We’re confident that this approach will work in the automotive world, especially when combined with our incentive model.”

In connection with Toyota’s support of the Carma Project, people can earn financial rewards by signing up for Carma Project and sharing Takata airbag recall information with their friends and family. A simple license plate photo or typing a VIN into a recall lookup tool on Carma Project’s website allows involved Toyota, Lexus, and Scion owners to immediately take action and book an appointment for a free Takata airbag fix. Referring individuals can also earn financial rewards for every eligible Toyota, Lexus, or Scion that is fixed.

“As more automotive manufacturers join Carma Project, more incentives will be added, ultimately leading to our mission of eradicating this ongoing problem,” Mr. Gratton further explained.

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2 Comments » for Project to use peer-to-peer influence to complete airbag recalls
  1. Bob Ward says:

    One thing is to notify vehicle owners of this problem. The more important issue is getting the manufacturers to perform this vital recall work in a timely fashion. Manufacturers should be made to complete recalls in a timely manner or fines should be given. These air bag recalls are not even part of a motor vehicle inspection. Any recall that effects vehicle safety should be addressed quickly.

    • Kaitlyn Keeler says:

      Dealers are required to check and actually can’t even register a vehicle that has an open recall on it. They are pretty quick to book in the recall and complete it (from my experience) but sometimes unexpected delays DO happen ( backordered parts and delayed shipping and what not).

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