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Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki issue urgent Takata recalls
Vehicle buybacks, replacement cars on offer as consumers urged to heed airbag alert
10 Jan 2020
By TERRY MARTIN
TOYOTA, Mazda and Suzuki are offering to buy back more than 18,000 vehicles combined on Australian roads, fitted with potentially lethal Takata airbags using the recently identified NADI 5-AT propellant.
These airbags differ from the deadly Alpha and highly dangerous Beta types that are subject to the compulsory national recall campaign running since early 2018, with vehicle owners of models with the newly identified airbags urged to stop driving immediately and contact the manufacturer.
Due to the age of the vehicles, all of which were built between 1996 and 1999, replacement airbags are not currently available.
However, all three manufacturers will help facilitate an urgent and free inspection, and arrange alternate transport options until the buyback process or airbag replacement is completed.
Four incidents involving suspected misdeployment of these airbags resulting in two deaths and two serious injuries have now been logged by safety authorities, with Toyota vehicles involved in the latest separate reports of a death and serious injury.
These follow separate incidents resulting in a death and serious injury involving BMW vehicles, as GoAuto reported last November.
The latest batch of vehicles were identified last month by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), joining models produced around the same time from Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda and Mitsubishi.
The vehicles in question are all MY1997 to MY1999 models covering Celica (ST204), Paseo (EL54), RAV4 3-Door (SXA10), RAV4 5-Door (SXA11) and Starlet (EP91) in both three-door and five-door body style.
Mazda’s urgent new recall relates to 466 examples of the Eunos 800 (MY1996-99), while Suzuki’s concerns the Grand Vitara (SQ625 2.5L V6, MY1998-99), 346 of which are carrying the deadly driver’s airbag.
“These airbags could injure or kill people in the car by misdeploying in an accident and propelling parts or metal fragments into the cabin of the vehicle at high speed,” said ACCC acting chair Stephen Ridgeway.
“The airbags have also, in some instances, not fully inflated in a crash, thereby failing to protect drivers as expected.”
Mr Ridgeway also urged drivers to take the warnings seriously.
“These airbags pose a serious safety risk that could lead to deaths or serious injuries. Please do not put lives at risk, and consider other transport options if your vehicle is affected,” he said.
A full list of affected vehicles, including VIN numbers, is available on the Product Safety Australia website (www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls/recall-of-takata-nadi-5-at-airbags).
The manufacturers involved in the recall also have hotlines set up to help consumers, and the ACCC says all have agreed “to consider providing urgent short-term assistance for owners who are experiencing significant hardship over the holiday period as a result of this safety issue”.
Audi, BMW, and Ford have already commenced recalls, while Honda and Mitsubishi are expected to follow suit “very soon” according to the ACCC.
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