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AIR BAGS COMING IN 1994, QUEST-VILLAGER MAKERS SAY

Neither Nissan nor Lincoln-Mercury is finger-pointing when it comes to assessing blame for the lack of a driver's side air bag in its new minivan.

Instead, both companies insist that they've created a safe product, that they underestimated how quickly air bags would become vitally important to consumers and that air bags will arrive in 1994 model Quests and Villagers."It's obvious the air bag is a very important element of safety, but it's not the only element," said George Tardiff, Lincoln-Mercury's Western regional sales manager. At the time the vehicle was being created, "air bags were not as big an issue as meeting the safety standards," said Bill Bivens, Nissan's manager for truck-utility vehicle marketing. Chrysler's minivans have driver's side air bags as standard equipment. Most other models do not offer them.