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Victoria, Mercedes-Benz off pace in Takata recall

Ta-ka-ta: According to the ACCC, 78.9 per cent of Takata airbag inflators have now been replaced in Australia, but more than 600,000 still require action.

ACCC reveals 4495 Alpha Takata airbag inflators are still in vehicles on the road

6 Aug 2019

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a new progress update on its compulsory recall of deadly Takata airbag inflators, revealing that Victoria and Mercedes-Benz have the lowest completion rates in their respective categories.


As of June 30 this year, the overall national completion rate is 78.9 per cent, with 603,938 of the 4.01 million airbags recalled still requiring a free-of-charge replacement, while 255,000 have been deemed unreplaceable.


It should be noted that some vehicles require multiple airbag replacements, with 536,000 still outstanding. In total, 3.03 million vehicles have been recalled, 2,280,823– or 75.1 per cent – of which have been fixed. This total figure includes 218,000 unreplaceable vehicles.


There are two types of Takata airbag inflators, with the Alpha said to have a 50 per cent chance of shooting metal fragments and shrapnel into a vehicle’s cabin upon deployment.


According to the ACCC, there are still 4495 examples in vehicles on the road, with brands affected including Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Honda, BMW and Lexus.


While the risk of the alternate Beta type of misdeploying is much lower, it is still potentially deadly, with 599,443 examples still yet to be rectified.


Among Australia’s states and territories, Victoria has the lowest overall completion rate, at 80.21 per cent, while Queensland is leading from the front on 87.75 per cent.


The former’s relatively poor result is partly due to its inaction on legislation that prevents the registration of vehicles still fitted with Takata airbag inflators. All other states and territories have changed their laws accordingly.


However, it is New South Wales that just edges Victoria to have the largest number of airbags still requiring replacement, both from an Alpha (1507) and Beta (187,352) perspective, due to its larger base. The latter has 1130 Alpha and 186,835 airbags to go.


For reference, there are only 28 Alpha airbags remaining in Tasmania and 3721 of their Beta counterparts outstanding in the Northern Territory, but both have much smaller bases than NSW and Victoria.


From a brand perspective, Mercedes-Benz is behind the pace with a completion rate of 53.17 per cent, from a total of 115,548 airbags, having commenced its action when the compulsory recall was enacted on July 1, 2018.


Volkswagen (56.92% of 99,739) and GM Holden (63.22% of 314,724) are in the same boat, with the next-worst being BMW (73.39% of 195,321), which commenced its action prior to the compulsory recall.


Conversely, Mazda continues to set the standard with a completion rate of 93.99 per cent, from a total of 273,778 airbags, with Honda (91.83% of 379,677), Citroen (91.18% of 3185) and Mitsubishi (90.94% of 164,737) not too far behind.


Under the ACCC’s compulsory recall, all brands are required to replace their remaining Takata airbag inflators by December 31, 2020.


“Time, money and resources are not a consideration for the Australian automotive industry in the mandatory Takata recall. All that matters is the faulty airbags are rectified as soon as possible and with minimum inconvenience for the customer,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber.


Vehicle owners should visit www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au and enter their registration number and state or territory to see if they are impacted. Alternatively, a check can be conducted by texting TAKATA to 0487 AIRBAG (247 224).


As reported, there have been at least 26 deaths and more than 300 injuries caused worldwide by defective Takata airbag inflators. In Australia, one person died and another was injured in separate incidents.

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