More than two million Australian cars fitted with defective Takata airbags have been recalled following an investigation.
Vehicle manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and importers have been ordered by the Federal Government to replace “dangerous” Takata airbags as quickly as possible.
The decision was made following an inquiry by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which consulted with manufacturers, industry stakeholders and international experts as part of the largest worldwide recall in automotive history.
The Takata airbag has been associated with at least 23 deaths and over 230 serious injuries globally, according to a statement from Michael Sukkar, assistant minister to the treasurer.
In Australia, a man was killed and a woman was seriously injured in relation to the airbag last year, according to the ACCC.
Vehicles made by Ford, GM Holden, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda are all among the 2.3 million involved in the recall in Australia.
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.
In July last year, Takata apologised for the “widespread concern and inconvenience caused as a result of our inflators”.
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.
Around 1.7 million vehicles have had airbags replaced (including 90,000 alpha airbags), leaving around 1 million voluntarily recalled airbags to be replaced.
“The safety of all Australians is the highest priority of the Federal Government,” Sukkar said. “Vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags have caused injuries and fatalities.
“While almost 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.”
To ensure a coordinated recall, over the next two years manufacturers will be required to progressively identify their recalls and replace airbags in affected vehicles. Which will be published on the Product Safety Website.
All defective Takata airbags will need to be replaced by the end of 2020, with priority of replacement given to airbags based on a range of factors including age and exposure to heat and humidity.
Consumers are urged to subscribe to receive notifications of new recalls as they are published and should visit productsafety.gov.au to check if their vehicle is fitted with an alpha airbag, which presents an immediate risk to safety.
The airbag replacement is free for vehicle owners. Manufacturers have until April 3 to provide details of the additional recalled vehicles to the ACCC.