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Massive Takata airbag recall affects millions

Widespread recall: A number of car-makers are caught up in the Takata airbag recall, including Honda which is calling back examples of its 2003 Accord Euro sedan (left).

The latest airbag recall has Takata in hot water again and Australia is affected

27 Jun 2014

SAFETY equipment manufacturer Takata is again at the centre of what could be one of the biggest global automotive recalls ever conducted, with millions of cars across a number of major brands impacted.

Takata is the world’s second largest auto safety parts maker and this latest investigation and recall focuses on the company’s airbags which it supplies to many car brands.

The issue relates to the storage of the propellant in the inflator within the airbag device. It is believed that as an airbag is deployed, the propellant could ignite abnormally and explode with such force that the casing of the airbag device could fracture and cause injury.

It is alleged that humidity may also be a contributing factor to the abnormal ignition of the propellant, with car-makers in the United States recalling vehicles from the more humid southern states first.

In the US, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have issued a recall of 2.9 million cars and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Toyota, BMW, Chrysler and Ford will also be issuing recalls.

Australia has been hit hard by the Takata airbag recall, with Honda's local arm telling GoAuto it is recalling 33,434 vehicles, including the 2003 Civic sedan, 2002-2003 Jazz hatch, 2002-2003 CR-V, 2003 Accord, 2003 Accord Euro and 2003 MDX SUV.

Honda said it takes matters of safety extremely seriously and will be contacting owners by mail.

As reported by GoAuto earlier this week, Mazda Australia is recalling all Mazda6 sedans and wagons, plus the RX-8 coupe built between August 22, 2002 and February 2004.

Mazda Australia’s senior manager of public relations Steve Maciver says the company has identified the affected cars.

“We’re in the process of working with head office to secure parts supply and we’ll be contacting customers in due course to invite them to come to the dealer to have their cars fixed as soon as possible,” Mr Maciver said.

Nissan Australia will recall 25,941 vehicles and said in a statement today that it had received information from Takata this month and has found that certain variants with model years from 2001 to 2003 have been affected.

These models include the N16 Pulsar, D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol, T30 X-Trail and the A33 Maxima. Nissan says it will contact the customers of these vehicles.

In another case involving Takata airbags, US automotive giant General Motors today announced it would recall 33,000 examples of the Cruze small car in America.

However, its local subsidiary Holden confirmed with GoAuto that the locally-built version of the Cruze is not caught up in the massive global recall.

The company said that “following a thorough and careful investigation we can confirm that the Holden Cruze is not affected by the same airbag issue that resulted in the US Chevrolet Cruze stop sale.”

The latest series of recalls comes two weeks after Toyota announced a worldwide recall of 2.27 million vehicles fitted with Takata airbag equipment.

In Australia, 19,600 vehicles were affected with Toyota recalling the Corolla, Avensis Verso and Lexus SC430 made between January 2001 and May 2003.

Takata Corporation’s CEO Shigehisa Takada has apologised to shareholders for the part it has played in the airbag recall, which has seen the value of its shares fall nearly 30 per cent since the beginning of the year.

US automotive publication Autonews is reporting that the actual cost of the recall in terms of supplying affected vehicles with replacement parts and the labour could amount to US$500 for Takata.

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