Volkswagen Group Australia has initiated its recall for over 100,000 vehicles across various model lines fitted with faulty Takata airbags, as part of the Australian Government's mandatory safety recall that requires all defective inflators to be replaced by 31 December 2020.
In a statement released this week, the company said:
"Our customers are our first priority, and, as a result of the Australian Government's mandatory recall of certain vehicles with frontal Takata airbag inflators, we will be conducting a staged recall of the affected vehicles between now and the end of 2020. We will contact owners to let them know when they should visit a dealer to have their Takata airbag inflator replaced, free of charge."
According to the statement, no vehicles imported by either brand into Australia are fitted with the more dangerous 'alpha' inflators.
The affected model lines by manufacturer are as follows:
- Skoda: Fabia, Kodiaq, Octavia, Rapid, Superb and Yeti – model years 2013-2018 fitted with driver-side Takata airbags
- Volkswagen: Polo (A04) and Transporter – model years 2007-2015 fitted with driver-side Takata airbags
As for numbers, there are 17,622 Skoda vehicles affected, along with a further 102,116 Volkswagen models.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be contacted "directly on an individual basis".
The Takata airbag recall affects more than 100 million vehicles and nearly 20 automotive brands around the world. Among those are more than five million vehicles in Australia, the equivalent of four years of nationwide sales.
Globally, there have been 20 deaths linked to the scandal, and 230 serious injuries. One Australian motorist lost their life to a faulty Takata airbag in July 2017, one month after another Australian driver was seriously injured.
In February 2018, the recall of vehicles affected by the faulty Takata airbags was made compulsory under law, with affected manufacturers required to replace all defective airbags by the end of 2020. Last month the ACCC added some 1.1 million vehicles to the compulsory recall.
According to the Australian Government, the risk of a defective Takata airbag rupturing may arise between 6 and 25 years after it is installed in a vehicle. In areas of high heat and humidity, the risk of rupture may arise between 6 and 9 years.