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Honda calls out Takata airbag inflator ‘hotspots’
Metropolitan NSW, Victoria on notice as Honda Aus keeps replacing Takata airbags
15 May 2018
HONDA Australia has put owners of its vehicles still fitted with dangerous Takata airbag inflators on notice, calling out the top 10 postcodes that have the highest number of replacements pending.
Heavily populated metropolitan areas of New South Wales and Victoria account for the entire list of ‘hotspots’, which include owners that have received up to five recall notifications each.
NSW claims the first four places with its 2166 (Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Heights, Canley Vale and Lansvale), 2170 (Casula, Casula Mall, Chipping Norton, Hammondville, Liverpool, Liverpool South, Liverpool Westfield, Lurnea, Moorebank, Mount Prichard, Prestons and Warwick Farm), 2200 (Bankstown, Bankstown Aerodrome, Bankstown North, Bankstown Square, Condell Park, Manahan and Mount Lewis) and 2144 (Auburn) postcodes respectively.
Victoria splits the pack at number five with 3021 (Albanville, Kealba, Kings Park and St Albans), while the NSW postcode of 2145 (Constitution Hill, Girraween, Greystanes, Mays Hill, Pemulwuy, Pendle Hill, South Wentworthville, Wentworthville and Westmead) and 2176 (Abbotsbury, Bossley Park, Edensor Park, Greenfield Park, Prairiewood, St Johns Park and Wakeley) in the next two spots.
Eighth and 10th places belongs to Victoria’s 3029 (Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit and Truganina) and 3030 (Werribee, Werribee South, Cocoroc, Derrimut, Point Cook and Quandong) respectively, while NSW bisects the two with 2165 (Fairfield, Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights and Fairfield West).
Specifically, first-placed 2166 has more than 850 Hondas that still require repair, while fifth-placed 3021 has 551 vehicles remaining. Eighth-placed 3029 and 10th-placed 3030 have more than 500 and 450 outstanding recalls respectively.
According to Honda Australia director Stephen Collins, owners of vehicles still fitted with Takata airbag inflators need to take urgent action to rectify the issue.
“It doesn’t matter how old your Honda is. All Honda owners should check their vehicle, and if it’s part of the Takata recall, then make arrangements to have the airbags replaced,” he said.
Honda Australia continues to pace the local automotive industry with its Takata airbag inflator completion rate, which sits at 89.8 per cent as of Monday, May 14.
In total, the company has recalled 436,921 vehicles fitted with 661,115 passenger and/or driver front Takata airbag inflators, of which 593,711 have been replaced for free via its network of 107 dealers.
As such, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) data shows that 44,719 Honda vehicles still require 67,404 repairs, including 7006 for the more dangerous Alpha airbag inflators, of which 85.6 per cent have already been done.
Vehicles serviced in the Honda dealer network have a completion rate of 99 per cent thanks to up-to-date owner information, such as addresses.
At its peak, Honda Australia was averaging 3200 replacements a week, including weeks where up to 7000 repairs were completed. New airbag inflators have been sourced from Diacel and Autoliv.
Mr Collins explained that there were several reasons why some owners have not contacted the company yet to arrange a replacement, despite likely receiving at least one recall notification.
“Among them would be the age of the car, the vehicle not being known to our database and ultimately, in the case of some of these postcodes, where English is not the first language in the household,” he said.
For these owners, Honda Australia has set up multi-lingual services, including a dedicated phone line (1800 785 216) that covers more than 20 languages and a recall information website which is offered in 10 languages. Non-English community newspapers have also been engaged to publish recall information.
Beyond the aforementioned recall notification letters, the company’s outreach activities – totalling 1.4 million forms of communication – have also extended to Facebook, text messaging, registered letters and door-knocks since the Takata airbag inflator recalls started in 2009.
The company has also established a fully funded recall contact centre in Melbourne, which has 20 staff available during business hours six days a week on 1800 789 839.
Mr Collins cautioned that owners with affected vehicles should do their best to avoid forgetting about the recall as the consequences can be lethal.
“It’s critical that we get the remaining outstanding customer cars into dealerships, as these vehicles still have potentially dangerous airbags in them that can cause serious injury or even death in an accident if the airbag deploys incorrectly,” he said.
Interestingly, despite featuring in the top 10 ‘hotspots’, some of the postcodes, including Victoria’s 3030, are actually among the best completion rates in Australia, which Mr Collins says is indicative of Honda’s popularity in these areas.
He added that Honda vehicles have a reputation for reliability and longevity, meaning owners remain faithful to the brand and hold onto their cars for longer, but “we would urge these owners who have older cars to take heed of the Takata recall”.
As previously reported, the Takata airbag inflator saga has resulted in 23 reported deaths and 230 injuries worldwide, including one of each in Australia, due to inflator shrapnel being discharged into the cabin when Takata airbags were deployed.
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