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Mitsubishi steps up Takata recall campaign

Widespread attention: Mitsubishi has published a letter in national newspapers today imploring customers to take action and get faulty Takata airbag inflators replaced.

136,000 outstanding faulty Takata inflators still to be repaired by Mitsubishi

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Mitsubishi logo27 Feb 2018

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) has escalated its Takata recall with a notice letter run in national newspapers today imploring owners to come in for a fix as faulty airbag inflator repairs have fallen off in recent months.

Affected Mitsubishi models include the Lancer small car built from August 2003 to September 2008, the Triton ute produced from February 2006 to December 2013, the Pajero SUV built between October 2006 and January 2017, and the i-MiEV EV produced from February 2010 to the same month in 2012.

In total, 235,151 driver and passenger side airbag inflators are affected, with Mitsubishi having already fixed 136,000 units for a repair rate of about 58 per cent, well above the industry average of 38 per cent as of October last year.

However, MMAL head of corporate communications and government relations Karl Gehling told GoAuto that the car-maker is finding it difficult to persuade some customers to bring their vehicles in for a fix.

“We can send them multiple letters, we have their most recent registration data, so we know it’s the owners that we’re sending them too, but … the lack of responses have been disappointing,” he said.

“Mostly with older vehicles, and it’s not exclusively to that, but certainly a significant number of older vehicles are the ones that we’d most like to get repaired.”

The faulty Takata airbag inflators’ ammonium nitrate propellant can – over time and with the build-up of moisture – degrade and result in a misdeployment of the airbag that will shoot metal shrapnel into the vehicle cabin.

Global fatalities as a result of faulty Takata airbags has reached 20 with one in Australia, and more than 100 million units have been called back leading to the Japanese component-maker’s bankruptcy.

According to MMAL, “to the best of our knowledge, there have been no reported incidents in a Mitsubishi vehicle within Australia”.

Mr Gehling said issuing the letter imploring customers to bring in their vehicles for repair work is part of a larger push to raise awareness of the dangers of a faulty Takata airbag.

“Obviously we contacted all of the owners,” he said. “What we are now in the process of doing is phoning and psychically going and visiting the customers at their homes to try and convince them to take their vehicles in.

“It’s really just trying something different. Obviously we hope that there are people out there that will read this and consider – maybe not just if they own a vehicle, if they know someone who owns a vehicle – to enquire and check whether or not their vehicle is fixed or not.

“What we hope is that this will generate some more awareness of the recall.”

Mitsubishi says it has stockpiled enough parts to fix the remaining affected vehicles and will not use like-for-like Takata components as a stop-gap fix unlike other car-makers, and will instead source inflator units from Daicel and Autoliv.

All repair work is free of charge and will take between 30 minutes to two hours to complete, depending on the model affected and which inflator units need to be replaced.

In the published letter, MMAL CEO John Signoriello implored customers to check their vehicles for repair work.

“We urge all customers who own one of these models to verify if their vehicle is subject to the Takata recall and make a booking with your local dealer to replace your Takata airbag inflator,” he said.

“Your safety is our highest priority.”

Affected vehicle identification numbers are listed on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.

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