Company has replaced 600,000 inflators but tens of thousands left

Honda Australia’s Takata airbag inflator replacement rate is about to hit 90 per cent, with the company’s local arm having swapped a staggering 593,711 of the potentially life-threatening inflator units so far.

However, this means there are still 44,719 vehicles, or 67,404 inflators, that haven't yet been replaced. This data is based on VINs/registry information, though some of these vehicles may no longer be roadworthy.

More urgently, 7006 of the inflators requiring replacement are the deadly 'Alpha' inflators.

Honda now has a warehouse full of replacement inflators made by Diacel and Autoliv, and is desperately urging anyone yet to have their car fixed to contact their local dealer. The company has a multi-lingual call centre with 20 staff and a VIN checker online, you can find here.

Honda Australia has sent as many as five notices to the owners yet to have their cars sorted out, mailed 1.4 million warning letters based on state registration records, taken out ads in non-English publications, and set up repair stations in remote areas like Mt Isa.

It has also reached out via Facebook ads, with texts, by working with toll providers (Honda has no access to driver data at any point) and even by door knocks. It may seem invasive, but people need to realise that 1) these aren’t Honda parts, but rather parts sourced in good faith from a disgraced supplier, and 2) you could die from not getting your affected car checked.

Furthermore, the Takata airbag recall, previously voluntary for manufacturers, is now compulsory under law. Stories here and here.

For those who’ve managed to stay under a rock all this time, the Takata airbag recall has become the largest automotive recall in history, affecting more than 100 million vehicles and nearly 20 automotive brands around the globe.

There have been 19 confirmed deaths caused by degraded, shrapnel-producing inflator cases, including one in Australia — an unfortunate Honda CR-V driver who had not had the inflator replacement.

Honda in Australia was the worst affected in our market, but its 89.8 per cent completion rate is excellent. For comparison, Mazda’s rate is 86.3 per cent, Nissan’s is 66 per cent (191,300 inflators replaced out of 289,700, 21,500 being the Alpha inflators) and BMW's is 46 per cent (from 136,437 total).

Inflator supply is no longer the issue it was, so you should not have trouble finding a dealer with inventory irrespective of what type of car you drive.

Is your car affected? Read here for all the information you need, or check out the infogram below. 

Some interesting background: Honda owners in western Sydney and Melbourne are over-represented, with internal data showing the 10 postcodes with the most unfinished replacement jobs coming from these two states.

These regions are the postcodes of: 2166, 2170, 2200, 2144, 3021, 2145, 2176, 3029, 2165 and 3030.


What’s the cause of the issue?

From the ACCC: "Certain types of airbags made by Takata Corporation use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN) as a propellant. The ACCC’s investigation concluded that Takata PSAN airbags without a desiccant (or drying agent) or with a calcium sulphate desiccant have a design defect.

"Due to the defect, as the airbag ages and is exposed to high temperatures and humidity, the PSAN propellant is exposed to moisture and degrades. If this happens, when the airbag is triggered and deploys (in a collision), it may deploy with too much explosive force, rupturing the airbag inflator housing so that sharp metal fragments shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them."