Volkswagen has kicked off the Takata recall campaign for its B7 Passat, focusing on cars in the hottest and most humid parts of Australia.
As with all cars included in the Takata recall, a combination of heat and humidity can make the airbag propellant degrade over time. If vehicles with a faulty inflator are involved in an accident triggering the airbags, there's a risk the unit could explode under too much internal pressure.
If that happens, metal fragments can shoot into the cabin, putting occupants at risk of serious injury or death.
A total of 4333 cars sold between June 1, 2010 and January 1, 2016 in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia are impacted. A VIN list is attached here.
Volkswagen will contact owners of the impacted vehicles, and advise them to organise a free replacement inflator.
The Takata airbag recall affects more than 100 million vehicles and nearly 20 automotive brands around the world.
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. The ACCC earlier this year 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.
Concerned owners can check if their vehicle needs a new inflator at www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au.