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ACCC: 196k vehicles still fitted with Takata airbags

Better safe: the ACCC has echoed calls from the FCAI for motorists to continue having their vehicles’ dangerous and/or faulty Takata airbags replaced despite the coronavirus pandemic.

ACCC says compulsory recall is still in place for ‘critical’ Takata airbags

6 May 2020

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged motorists to keep checking for and replacing potentially deadly Takata airbags fitted to their vehicles in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.


According to the latest figures released by the ACCC, 196,000 affected vehicles are still being driven on public roads, more than 8000 of which are fitted with the lethal ‘Alpha’ or 8585 ‘non-Alpha’ (critical) varieties.


To date in Australia, there has been just one injury and one fatality relating to the ‘critical’ varieties while the misdeployment of the faulty NADI type airbag has resulted in two known deaths and two injuries.


ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said people should still be checking whether their vehicle is affected by the recall given car dealerships are still operating and providing replacement parts free of charge.


“Even during this pandemic, replacing faulty airbags is an essential and potentially life-saving task, especially as vehicles may be being used by essential workers and care-givers,” she said.


“It will also be more important than ever that as more people start to use their cars again, they check that their airbags are safe. 


“Affected Takata airbags can misdeploy and send sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, and cause serious injury or death to its occupants.”


“Drivers should check online or with their dealer or manufacturer whether their vehicles are subject to this compulsory recall or the voluntary recall of Takata NADI airbags, and never ignore a notice of recall from your car’s manufacturer.”


The calls echo those made by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) last month reminding vehicle owners that dealerships are still open and ready to replace the airbags despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.


“We understand this is a very stressful time in our community, but we can’t afford to lose sight of the safety of our cars, especially when private transport has now become so important,” FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said at the time.


“Vehicle owners should not delay or they will risk the safety of themselves and their passengers.”


On a global scale, there have been 29 deaths and over 320 serious injuries reported in relation to the critical Takata varieties, including those mentioned above in Australia.


According to the ACCC, more than 88 per cent of the compulsory recall is now complete while about six per cent of the affected vehicles have been “reported by suppliers as written-off, stolen, unregistered, exported or modified and unable to be replaced”.


As for the NADI type airbags, Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota have all issued voluntary recalls in recent months for certain models produced between 1996 and 2000 and have offered to buy back the affected vehicles or at least provide a loan vehicle until replacement parts become available.


“We understand dealerships are still operating and are offering the services outlined in the compulsory and voluntary recall notices,” Ms Rickard said. 


“Both the ACCC and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications will be closely monitoring any changes to these arrangements.”

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