Volkswagen Australia has commenced the first part of its Takata airbag recall, issuing a notice for the previous-generation Polo light hatch and Transportervan across various model years.
This particular recall involves the MY07-09 Polo (A4) and MY08-15 Transporter, with 4253 units and 13,717 units affected from each model line respectively.
In total, there's 17,970 vehicles affected by this initial notice, though the company confirmed last month that a total of 102,116 Volkswagen-badged models require repairs in Australia.
As with previous Takata campaigns, the faulty airbag's propellant could degrade over time due to a combination of high temperatures and humidity – in the case of the Polo and Transporter, it's the driver's side airbags that are affected.
If the condition occurs, the metal inflator housing could rupture if the airbag is deployed, sending metal fragments into the cabin. This poses a significant risk of serious injury, even death, to the vehicle's occupants.
Owners are urged to contact their local Volkswagen dealer, or the company's head office directly via this link to arrange the free replacement of the defective inflator. Consumer notifications will be "prioritised based on vehicle age (oldest first)", and Volkswagen will contact owners when their airbag is to be replaced.
For more information, call 1800 504 076.
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.