News - Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz gears up for Takata recall
Benz ready to work with other brands to communicate Takata recall actions
4 Apr 2018
MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific (MBAP) is ready to pool communication resources with other manufacturers affected by the Takata recall to maximise the impact of the message to owners of vehicles needing airbag replacement.
The German luxury car giant is one of a number of companies recently confirmed as part of the federal government’s compulsory airbag recall, alongside Ford, Holden, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda.
The first government-mandated recall in Australia – announced in late February – involves 2.3 million vehicles from 25 brands.
As previously reported, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) was unhappy with the completion rate of repairs under the voluntary system, with 38 per cent of all affected vehicles recalled since 2009 having been fixed.
Speaking with GoAuto at the New York motor show, MBAP senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy said Benz would not follow some other manufacturers that have replaced the affected airbags with other similar Takata airbags.
“We will meet out deadlines for our submissions to the ACCC in terms of the roll out,” he said. “Our solution is not like for like. Where possible, we will replace the driver and passenger airbag with one visit.
“It is not always going to be possible to do both, but you will not have to come back in seven years or whatever to replace the airbag that we replace. It is a superior solution.”
As per the terms of the mandatory recall, MBAP has added a VIN search tool to its Australian consumer website for owners to determine if their vehicle is affected.
Mr McCarthy said the car-maker was yet to determine the total number of vehicles impacted.
“For us it is a big number,” he said. “We don’t have the final number yet. But it is a big number. We have a particular view on that. But at the end of the day, what the minister has signed off on is what we will adhere to.”
He added that there would be “much more communication” about the upcoming recall, and suggested that some car-makers would come together to produce joint communications for greater impact.
“All of the brands have to do individual communication,” he said. “There is some discussion about joint campaigns, which a number of brands will work together on. And the purpose of that will be to increase the reach of the message.
“I think one of the challenges with this is, with all of the brands involved, there is going to be so many messages out there. It is getting cut-through with yours. This is where I think a joint campaign has an ability to do some more.”
While it is unclear what form the joint communications program would take, it is likely to include television commercials, digital advertising and print.
Mr McCarthy pointed out that other organisations and non-OEM companies, such as Melbourne toll road operator EastLink, had sent emails to customers encouraging them to check whether their cars are affected.
He said convincing owners to make the time to take their vehicle in for a fix would be one of the biggest challenges.
“Don’t underestimate the challenge of this – the numbers that are involved,” he said.
“With these recalls, as we have seen with other brands, getting people in to get them fixed, that is the biggest challenge. Some other brands that have done that (are) struggling to get 100 per cent replacement rate where they have done home visits, door knocks, telemarketing, social media. Each little bit (of communication), you get a bit further.”
According to the ACCC recalls website, Mercedes models included in the recall include the 2008-2011 ML, 2008-2012 GL, 20008-2012 R-Class, 2005-2010 A-Class, 2006-2008 SLK, 2009-2014 SLS, various C-Class variants from 2007-2015, E-Class variants from 2009-2017, 2006-2017 Sprinter and some Vito/Valente/Viano from 2006-2014.
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