Volume 9, Issue 4 - August/September 2007

Field of Vision
from the editor

Making Headlines
by Penny Stacey

Recently, I spoke with Terry Rhadigan, director of communications for Chevrolet. Unfortunately, the reason for my call wasn’t a good one; General Motors Corp. (GM) recently announced a recall for both its 2007 Chevrolet Equinox and the 2007 Pontiac Torrent (see related story on page 20) citing that a faulty primer may have been used on these vehicles’ windshields, back stationary sidelites and liftgate glass. Rhadigan noted that the vehicles in question were manufactured at a plant in Ingersoll, Canada, and the issue was caused by human error.

Rhadigan says that potentially up to 10,000 vehicles could be affected, and he notes that the vehicles with the faulty primer don’t meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 212—a standard with which we’re very familiar in this industry. When he said the number “10,000,” my mouth dropped open.

My next question, of course, was how many vehicles they’ve located with the faulty primer. His answer: “It’s incumbent on how many people bring the vehicles back in.” 

This sounds like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. What if one consumer who decides not to bring his vehicle in and has the faulty primer and is in an accident—one that depends on the structural stability of that windshield? 

I realize GM has notified its customers and if customers don’t do anything about it, then that’s all the company can do; it can’t send personnel to each of these people’s homes and insist they turn their vehicles in to be shipped back to Canada to be checked out. The issue is now in the consumer’s hands.

But here’s my next question: how many consumers would be aware of the importance of their vehicle meeting the requirements of FMVSS 212? I’m sure there are all too many people out there who read the letter and said, “What are the chances of something bad happening?”

To me, this is a frightening thing, and, as a journalist, I can’t believe it’s not making bigger headlines. We actually originally learned of the recall from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), and numerous searches proved that no national news outlets (besides glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR magazine) had covered this issue as of July 11. 

Here’s where you come into play. As an industry, we’re always talking about how hard it is to educate the public on the importance of a windshield to a vehicle’s safety structure. This is a prime chance for our industry to make a difference in this area. If your customer brings in a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox or 2007 Pontiac Torrent, you could ask if they’ve heard of the recall. It may lose a job, if the customer should decide to send the vehicle back to Canada instead of having work done on its windshield, but it’s a chance to tell one consumer how important a safe auto glass installation is, and word of mouth is a valuable thing. Likewise, the next time that customer needs a windshield replaced—it’s likely your name will come to mind. 

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine. 

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