Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Calls for a mandatory recall of faulty Takata airbags

Over four million air bags could pose a threat on Australian roads. Source Getty file Over four million air bags could pose a threat on Australian roads. Source Getty file
Nellie Chapman | 02 March, 2018, 08:58

Auto manufacturer Holden has confirmed it will recall more than 300,000 vehicles in Australia fitted with defective Takata airbags.

It is too soon to say what, if any, impact the recall will have on second-hand vehicle prices, according to Australian Automotive Dealer Association CEO David Blackhall.

They have caused dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide, including one death in Australia.

Vehicle suppliers or manufacturers must recall and replace the potentially deadly airbags in Australia by 2020.

Faafoi said he hopes the report will land with him next week sometime.

A subset of Takata airbags called "alpha" are considered to pose the highest safety risk of all the recalled airbags.

He added that manufacturers who could not replace all affected airbags in a vehicle within 24 hours should provide consumers with a hire or loan auto, and that people in remote areas should not have to drive to manufacturers themselves. Currently, around 89,000 alpha airbags have been replaced and there are still around 25,000 yet to be replaced.

"While nearly one in five passenger vehicles on Australian roads have now been recalled, the voluntary recall process has not been effective in some cases, and some manufacturers have not taken satisfactory action to address the serious safety risk which arises after the airbags are more than six years old", Sukkar says.

Replacement rates for individual suppliers conducting voluntary recalls have varied significantly, ranging from between 36% to more than 84%. Four suppliers had replacement rates of less than 50% of vehicles subject to their voluntary recalls.

According to ABC News, cars on the compulsory recall list include various models that have already been subject to a voluntary recall in Australia - Toyota, Mazda, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and several others.

Two people in Southeast Texas died when Takata airbags in their cars deployed.

They can also check their vehicle by using the free Airbag Recall app, now available on Google Play or iTunes.

"For those airbags we're saying to people don't drive the auto again, just contact the manufacturer, they are obliged to come out and fix it".

These include the option of having the defective airbag replaced right outside the driver's home or in the parking lot where they work by a mobile fix technician, offering free loaner vehicles while repairs are made, and free towing services to and from nearby dealerships.

"This is a vehicle safety recall on an unprecedented scale and it has already led to a substantial increase in workload for workshops in many dealerships".

"If you bought the vehicle in a very remote location and it's too hard to come in, they've got to go to you, and in relation to those Alpha airbags ... don't drive the auto, just contact the manufacturer".

"The MIA is not opposing imports of used vehicles, but these vehicles should not be on-sold to consumers with outstanding (open) recalls", it said.