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Toyota Oz charges ahead with Takata airbag recall

On a mission: More examples of the 2013 Yaris have been recalled this week over faulty Takata airbags, which have caused 23 known deaths globally in other vehicles.

Takata airbag recall progressing as Toyota Oz nears 72 per cent completion rate

Toyota logo20 Apr 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

UPDATED: 23/04/2018

TOYOTA Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) has revealed that about 71.7 per cent of its vehicles impacted by the Takata airbag recall had already been fixed under its voluntary program ahead of the federal government’s compulsory call back, which went into effect on April 3.

Specifically, as of March 31 this year, around 416,322 of the 580,492 Toyota and Lexus vehicles recalled had their defective Takata airbags replaced.

Of this total number, about 26,959 are fitted with the more dangerous Alpha airbags, which around 20,445 – or 75.8 per cent – had been rectified at the time.

Comparatively, Honda Australia continues to pace the industry with its completion rate of about 89.0 per cent, as of April 19 this year, replacing up to 3200 airbag inflators a week on average.

Of the 661,102 airbag inflators recalled across 436,921 vehicles, more than 588,245 have already been replaced. As a result, 72,857 airbag inflators still require replacement across 47,255 vehicles.

Speaking to GoAuto at the HiLux national media launch in Port Augusta, South Australia this week, TMCA vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley stressed that the company’s Takata recall plan remains on track.

“Our customer safety is always our priority, and we are doing everything possible to fast-track getting these cars rectified quickly as possible,” he said. “At the moment, we’re progressing to plan.

“We appeal to anybody that’s been notified to please bring their car back to their local Toyota dealership, certainly on Alpha airbags. We’ve got the supply, the parts – we’re ready to go … we want to expedite the rectification process as soon as possible.”

When questioned if the federal government-issued compulsory recall, announced in February this year, had a noticeable impact on customer response, Mr Hanley indicated that it has been business as usual.

“We’ve taken a very proactive approach since the very initial stages,” he said.

“We certainly welcome any sort of action that encourages people to bring their car back.

“In terms of contacting guests and making vigorous efforts to expedite this process, we continue on.”

Mr Hanley added that “one of the positive outcomes of the mandatory recall is that it’s heightened awareness”.

“All of a sudden we’ve got people contacting us that are now understanding the seriousness of the matter at hand,” he said. “Generally, we’ve seen an increase in people contacting us and bringing their cars back.

“(The automotive) industry’s definitely committed as whole, all of us, to try and rectify this Takata airbag concern as quickly as possible.”

When questioned what the impact of the recall was on TMCA’s dealer network, Mr Hanley explained that additional resources were required to facilitate the free-of-charge airbag replacement process.

“Many of our dealers have put on extra shifts, additional skilled labour,” he said. “Our dealer network has been totally supportive. They’re very acutely aware of our obligations.

“Apart from that, they are doing everything possible to expedite this process as quickly and efficiently as possible. They understand and share, as we do, that this is an absolute priority.”

Mr Hanley added that some dealerships have dedicated entire teams to the Takata airbag recall, such is the high volume of work it has created.

TMCA also announced this week that several of its previous Takata airbag recall notices will be expanded in light of the compulsory call back.

As such, the 2013 Corolla, Yaris and Rukus are the first cabs off the rank, with 5993, 708 and 338 examples added respectively to their existing recall notice first issued a few years ago.

As previously reported, Ford, Holden, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda have been forced to call back vehicles for the first time after being implicated in the compulsory recall.

However, several brands, such as Toyota, had voluntarily issued call backs in the years prior to the federal government’s involvement.

Any Toyota customers who would like more information on the Takata airbag recall – including a list of affected Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) – can search the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Product Safety Australia website, or contact TMCA directly on 1800 869 682.

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