Little known fact: fleet customers could receive a $145 discount by opting not to have side airbags in certain vehicles from General Motors. That doesn't sound like a lot of money, but when, for example, Enterprise Rent-A-Car purchased 66,000 Chevy Impalas sans curtains, the company saved nearly $10 million. It's not like omitting side curtain airbags is illegal, either, as the safety equipment isn't mandatory. Further, similar vehicles from other OEMS don't have side airbags as standard equipment.
Safety advocates and many customers had a problem with the practice, though, as the vehicles would enter the used car market without the safety tech and some less scrupulous dealers were advertising the ex-rental vehicles as having the air bags intact.
GM had offered the discounts on 2006-2009 model vehicles, but The General has decided to stop the practice beginning with the 2010 model year. General Motors has also taken steps to ensure that customers know they're not getting side curtain airbags on older vehicles coming off fleet duty. The Detroit, MI based-automaker has modified its GM Certified website so that when dealers print out the window sticker on affected models, the correct information is displayed. GM has also notified companies like AutoTrader and Cars.com that the airbags weren't standard on some fleet vehicles. Dealers with certified used vehicles were also notified via phone to place the correct sticker windows on affected vehicles. GM estimates that over 200,000 vehicles were sold to fleets without side curtain airbags.
[Source: Detroit News]