The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is publicly lobbying state and territory governments to ban the registration of all vehicles fitted with less dangerous but far more widespread ‘Beta’ Takata airbags from 2020.
All states and territories have already committed to de-registering vehicles still fitted with the older and particularly deadly ‘Alpha’ airbag inflators, except Victoria – though the FCAI is confident VicRoads will change its position imminently on that. So this latest proposal is an expansion of an existing policy.
As we know, the government (via the ACCC) has ordered car makers to replace every potentially faulty Takata airbag by December 31, 2020, which is an unprecedented task given the scale and geographical spread of vehicles. The relative imminence of this deadline has prompted the FCAI to push for the expanded rego bans.
There are still about 537,000 vehicles with outstanding recalls. More than 99 per cent of these have Beta airbags. So while the older Alpha airbags are more dangerous – independent testing has shown they have a 50:50 chance of spraying shrapnel when deployed, compared to about 1.0 per cent for Beta bags – the weight of numbers talks.
FCAI chief executive, Tony Weber, said the FCAI groups vehicles with outstanding recalls into three subsets.
Some non-responsive owners simply haven’t seen the massive advertising campaigns directing them to a rego checker at ismyairbagsafe.com.au, and will be targeted ever-more intensely. Some others are waiting for replacement parts from one pf the many car brands affected, but are expected to be catered to within months.
The real target group, called ‘Section 5.3s’, are those who intransigently continue to ignore phone calls, door knocking, texts and letters from their car brands pleading to get free airbag replacements.
“[So]... in 2020 we will have to start deregistering people with Beta airbags. Those people have had the opportunity to respond to the campaign, those airbags need to be replaced, and the only way we will successfully do this is with the support of ACCC and state and territory governments for de-registration,” Weber said.
- Worldwide recall: More than 100 million vehicles
- Worldwide toll: 26 fatalities, more than 300 injuries directly attributed to shrapnel from Takata inflators
- Australia: 2.28 million vehicles rectified, 570,000 outstanding (4500 with Alpha bags)
- Car brands affected: Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Ferrari, Ford, Holden, Honda, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Skoda, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota and Volkswagen
Head to www.ismyairbagsafe.com to see if your car needs a replacement airbag inflator.
MORE: All Takata news coverage