The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that counterfeit airbags that can be installed in 0.1 percent of the entire vehicle fleet in the country, or about 250,000 cars on the road. Around tens of thousands of the counterfeit airbags are believed to have been installed in vehicles.
Vehicles that have had their airbag replaced at a repair shop instead of the dealer are at high-risk of having a counterfeit airbag installed.
In August 2012, police seized nearly 1,600 counterfeit airbags from an auto mechanic in North Carolina. The counterfeit auto parts ring that was broken up was buying fake airbags from a plant in China, where the bags were being sold for $50 to $70 each. Authorities say that an authentic airbag costs much higher.
In the first 9 months of 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized around 2,500 counterfeit airbags in the United States.
Source: Associated Press, “Counterfeit air bags called ‘extreme safety risk’,” Google News, October 10, 2012.