Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Australian government recalls 4M vehicles equipped with Takata air bags

Australian government recalls 4M vehicles equipped with Takata air bags

Nearly four million cars fitted with unsafe Takata airbags are the subject of a compulsory recall after the federal government said it was unhappy with the industry response.

Previously, there was a voluntary recall in place but some drivers were unaware of or didn't respond to vehicle manufacturer's efforts to replace the airbags, raising concerns that many Aussies were still driving with unsafe airbags in their cars. Airbags more than six years old will also be a priority, as will vehicles in areas of high heat and humidity that accelerate the degradation of the chemicals used to inflate the airbag, the key cause of the problems, and those that are located in front of the driver.

This is in addition to existing voluntary recalls by BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Hino Trucks.

Four million vehicles have been affected with defective Takata airbags across Australia, with 2.7 million (including 115,000 with the high risk alpha airbags) recalled voluntarily.

"We put the safety of Australians first and foremost at all times", the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, told reporters.

Unhappy with the pace of the current replacement program for the defective Takata airbags, which have caused deaths from explosions following corrosion, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, today issued a compulsory recall notice. The voluntary recalls sought to replace affected Takata airbags in recalled vehicles.

Consumer watchdog boss Rod Sims said last year's voluntary recall applied to 2.3 million vehicles but only about 1.3 million had airbags replaced.

This is because in some cases, faulty Takata airbags were replaced with like-for-like, which only delayed the risk of the airbag exploding.

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Since the announcement of the recall, Mitsubishi Motors has replaced around 136,000 defective airbag inflators from a total 235,151 in Australia.

If your auto is affected by the recall then you can contact the vehicle's supplier for the airbag to be replaced. Of note, too, is that there are more recalls to come as Takata airbags reach the age where they too start showing symptoms that they are at risk of failing.

Globally, ruptures of defective Takata airbags have been associated with at least 23 deaths and 230 injuries.

For more information, visit the Product Safety Australia website.

"It is an indictment of this government that they have taken so long to pull the trigger on a compulsory recall".

All affected airbags must be replaced by the end of 2020.

No. Manufacturers will bear the cost.

In Australia, a man was killed and a woman was seriously injured in relation to the airbag previous year, according to the ACCC.

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