In recent days, we have learned that there are faulty airbags in millions of cars and that some have malfunctioned and killed or injured occupants.
Some suggest that people should park affected vehicles until manufacturers have parts available to fix the problem.
No one knows how long it's going to take to get all the parts required to make the necessary repairs, but it won't be by next week. It will take weeks or months to manufacture and distribute all the replacement parts and still longer to install them in even a majority of the affected vehicles.
Meanwhile, millions of owners of vehicles with defective Takata-built airbags must make some tough decisions. Do they continue to drive their cars and risk serious injury or death? Or do they park their vehicles and walk?
If it sounds like General Motors' ignition-switch recall problem, it is. Except this time it's a supplier that built the defective part for multiple manufacturers in Japan and North America. Asian, U.S. and European brands are affected.
We have to figure out a better way of handling recalls.
We have had two cases involving defective parts so bad that one potential solution has been for owners to park their cars. That is indeed a drastic remedy.
There aren't enough rental cars to handle all the affected owners. Some would have to use motorcycles or bicycles.
It is a serious and frightening problem that can't be ignored.
How do you protect drivers and passengers while you fix the problem?
If just one manufacturer of vehicles with defective Takata airbags tells customers to park their cars until they are fixed, then all manufacturers must follow suit or get blasted by critics.
Consumers don't care that Takata made defective airbags. They care only about whether their cars are dangerous to drive, who will fix them and when.
We have to figure out how to serve those customers.
It may be the most slippery slope car companies have ever faced. There is no simple solution. Even so, the industry must solve the problem and do it immediately.