Program relies on friends, family to encourage Toyota owners to get airbags fixed. Getty Images
Program relies on friends, family to encourage Toyota owners to get airbags fixed.

Toyota, Tech Platform Incentivize Takata Repairs

Despite efforts by manufacturers and dealers, consumer response to fixing the defective Takata airbags is lower than hoped, with one of every three affected airbags remaining unrepaired, the Carma Project says.

The Carma Project, a peer-to-peer technology platform, collaborates with Toyota in launching a program designed to encourage vehicle owners to have defective Takata airbags in their cars repaired.

The social and incentive-based program is intended to accelerate consumer response to what NHTSA has called the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history, Costa Mesa, CA-based Carma Project says in a news release.

The recall affects vehicles built by 19 different automakers, with a projected 70 million airbags expected to be recalled by the end of 2019. Despite more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of alleged injuries, however, millions of drivers and passengers remain at risk.

Despite extensive efforts by manufacturers, such as recall letters, public service announcements and dealer interventions, consumer response to fixing the defective airbags is lower than hoped, with one of every three affected airbags remaining unrepaired, the release says.

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

“We know that friends and family can play a powerful role in influencing how people make decisions about safety,” says Tom Trisdale, vice president-product quality and service support for Toyota Motor North America. “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.”

People can earn financial rewards by signing up for Carma Project (www.CarmaProject.com) and sharing Takata airbag recall information with friends and family. Loading a license plate photo or typing a VIN into a recall lookup tool on Carma Project’s website allows Toyota, Lexus, and Scion owners to book an appointment for a free Takata airbag repair.

Referring individuals can earn financial rewards for every eligible Toyota, Lexus, or Scion that is fixed, Carma Project says.

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

“We’ve built a similar solution in healthcare and have seen it work,” he says. “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.”

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