Car owners urged to check for deadly Takata airbag fault
Watchdog says motorists should check for deadly Takata airbags during COVID-19 crisis.
About 8000 cars fitted with the Takata Nadi airbag are considered so dangerous they should not be driven and should be towed to a dealership. Manufacturers are offering to buy these cars back or provide a rental car until vehicles can be fixed.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says two people in Australia have died and another two were seriously injured by the Takata Nadi airbags.
“Even during this pandemic, replacing faulty airbags is an essential and potentially life-saving task, especially as vehicles may be being used by essential workers and care-givers,” says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
“It will also be more important than ever that as more people start to use their cars again, they check that their airbags are safe. Affected Takata airbags can misdeploy and send sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, and cause serious injury or death to its occupants.”
Earlier this year, two more car makers joined a sweeping voluntary manufacturers’ recall of almost 80,000 vehicles because of a potentially deadly airbag, which was linked to two deaths in Australia.
On 20 January, Honda and Mitsubishi joined six other manufacturers in issuing a voluntary recall as authorities warned owners of the older cars not to drive them or risk death.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission says 80,000 cars in total are at risk from the Takata NADI (non-azide driver inflator) type 5-AT propellent airbags which were not subject to an earlier compulsory recall.
The recall involves cars made between 1996 and 2000 by Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki, Ford, Audi and BMW and the ACCC suspects a “substantial number” to still be registered and in use.
“These Takata NADI 5-AT airbags may kill or injure vehicle occupants if they misdeploy in an accident,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
“Two drivers have already died in Australia after their Takata NADI 5-AT airbags ruptured and propelled metal parts into the car interior.
“We urge owners to check if their vehicle is affected by visiting the Product Safety Australia website or contacting their manufacturer.”
“Consumers should respond immediately when contacted by their manufacturer. Sometimes manufacturers will not have the latest contact information for the owners of these cars, so people who suspect their cars are affected should contact the manufacturer themselves,” Rod says.
The ACCC and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development expect manufacturers to work to get these cars off the road as quickly as possible, Rod says.
“Any consumer who is concerned about the response from their manufacturer or the remedy offered should contact the head office of their car maker,” he says. “If consumers are still not satisfied, contact the Department or the ACCC.”
Rod says the latest recall of cars fitted with the Takata NADI airbags is different to the compulsory recall involving a different type of Takata airbag issued about two years ago.
Mitsubishi has offered to buy back affected cars at market value while Honda will only buy back registered cars. Both have offered to provide alternative transport options until the buy-back is complete.
BMW, Ford and Audi which implemented voluntary recalls in November, followed by Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki and now Honda and Mitsubishi.
Drivers who have previously checked www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au to see if their airbag is affected by the compulsory recall those airbags, should also check the Product Safety Australia website because these recalls concern a different type of airbag.
The successor company to Takata, Joyson Safety Systems (JSS), has confirmed the safety risk in certain NADI 5-AT inflators that were supplied globally.