— It's a strange world when a legitimate airbag maker has caused about 50 million vehicles to be recalled worldwide because of airbags that explode, and on the other hand, people are sentenced in court for selling counterfeit airbags that explode.
Takata is the airbag maker creating news after confirmed reports of deaths and injuries caused by hot metal shooting out of airbags. Just in the U.S., over 34 million vehicles have been recalled to replace the metal inflator canisters inside the Takata airbags. The inflator can explode and send shrapnel into an occupant.
However, another type of airbag can be found on some U.S. vehicles, and these airbags can explode into balls of fire and flaming metal that shoots into a vehicle occupant. These airbags are counterfeit and marketed and sold as legitimate replacement parts for cars, and Honda seems to be the favorite target of the scammers.
On March 12, 2015, Hussein Jomaa, manager of Eagle Auto Sales in Detroit, Michigan, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 36 months probation, 200 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine for trafficking counterfeit airbags.
Then on May 14, 2015, Samar Ayoub, of Eagle Auto Sales, was sentenced in federal court to 36 months probation and $5,100 in fines for trafficking in counterfeit airbags.
The charges were brought after an investigation determined Ayoub and her manager at Eagle Auto Sales, Hussein Jomaa, were selling airbags with fake Honda emblems and trademarks. Investigators said the airbags were identical to authentic Honda airbags, except the counterfeit airbags had been illegally imported and contained fake Honda airbag covers, "H" logo emblems and fake Honda center wheel caps.
Ayoub advertised and sold the counterfeit Honda airbags and airbag parts over the internet to customers in over 20 states and Puerto Rico. Using Eagle Auto Sales as their cover, the pair caused over 85 salvaged and used Honda vehicles to be exported with counterfeit Honda airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested the fake airbags and watched as shrapnel and flames from hot gas shot into the test dummies.
Counterfeit airbags have been a serious problem for years and it's almost impossible to know if the airbag is a genuine part from the automaker or a fake, typically imported from China.
Video of what it looks like when a counterfeit airbag explodes. Watch the second time the airbag deploys.