US Government Alerts Drivers of Counterfeit Airbags

November 24, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. caution (v.) 
[kaw-shuhn– to warn someone of possible danger or harm
Example: Warning signs caution people who pass by the construction area.

2. inflate (v.) [in-fleyt– to fill something with air or gas to enlarge it, as in a balloon
Example: The driver asked a car mechanic to inflate his flat car tire.

3. auto (adj.) [aw-toh– pertaining to cars or vehicles which have wheels and an engine
Example: He works in an auto body shop as a mechanic who checks problems in cars.

4. confiscate (v.) [kon-fuh-skeyt, kuhn-fis-keyt– to take possession or get hold of something as ordered by authorities
Example: The policemen confiscated the goods illegally sold in the market.

5. dealership (n.) [dee-ler-ship– a business authorized to sell a company’s product or a particular brand
Example: His father’s business is a dealership of a brand of refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances.

Read the text below.

The US government cautioned car owners who had recently replaced their airbags that they may have actually bought dangerous counterfeit airbags.

These counterfeit bags may not inflate when they should. One report said a bag even shot little pieces of metal when it inflated.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only 0.1 percent of vehicles have the airbag problem, but thousands of vehicles with counterfeit bags have not yet been checked.

So far, counterfeit air bags have not been related to any car deaths or injuries. However, this may be because police cannot easily identify a counterfeit airbag from an original airbag. A counterfeit bag looks the same as an original one and even has a carmaker’s logo printed on it.

Most of the bags may come from China, and are sold to auto repair shops not connected to carmakers.

A list of vehicles that may have counterfeit bags was already released by NHTSA on Car owners who have cars on the list and who have replaced their airbags within the last three years can also find more information on the website, such as who to contact to learn if their cars have counterfeit bags.

The NTHSA also advises people to have their airbags checked at auto dealerships, which usually only buy parts from carmakers. Having an airbag checked at a dealership, however, could cost up to $100.

Unfortunately, sales of the cheap counterfeit bags are still increasing. In August, the US government confiscated 1,600 counterfeit airbags and arrested the seller from North Carolina.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why is it important to warn or inform others about counterfeit or fake products?
·         How can the selling of counterfeit or fake products be stopped?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think counterfeit or fake products are so popular?
·         Can you think of something that cannot be made into a counterfeit product? Please explain your answer.


November 24, 2012