More than 18,000 Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki cars made between 1996 and 1999 have been ordered off the road due to a new type of deadly Takata airbag – in a recall estimated to cost in excess of $54 million to buy back affected vehicles.
Toyota is offering to buy back vehicles or provide long-term alternative car hire until replacement airbags are available.
Car companies are being forced to buy back affected vehicles because engineering replacement airbags would be more costly and less time efficient.
The latest safety campaign on cars equipped with the Takata NADI 5-AT airbag is in addition to recall issued last month for approximately 78,000 cars made by Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota between 1996 and 2000.
The NADI 5-AT inflator is believed to be linked to at least one recent death and one recent serious injury in Australia. This is in addition to the previous death and known serious injury caused by the Beta type of Takata airbag in two separate crashes in Australia in 2018.
So far, 3.4 million Takata airbag inflators have been replaced in 2.8 million cars in Australia. However, more than 400,000 remain on our roads, in addition to the 78,000 added last month and 18,000 added today.
“These airbags could injure or kill people in the car by misdeploying in an accident and propelling parts or metal fragments into the cabin of the vehicle at high speed,” ACCC Acting Chair Stephen Ridgeway said in a media statement.
“The airbags have also, in some instances, not fully inflated in a crash, thereby failing to protect drivers as expected.”
Owners of affected Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki vehicles are advised to “stop driving their vehicles immediately” and contact their manufacturer to arrange an urgent, free inspection, the ACCC warning said.
“Safety authorities in Australia have now received reports of four incidents involving suspected misdeployments of these airbags in Australia,” the ACCC statement continued.
“These incidents resulted in a death and a serious injury in BMW vehicles, and a death and a serious injury in Toyota vehicles.”
The ACCC repeated earlier calls for drivers to “take these warnings seriously”.
“These airbags pose a serious safety risk that could lead to deaths or serious injuries. Please do not put lives at risk, and consider other transport options if your vehicle is affected,” Mr Ridgeway said.
Consumers can check if their car is included in this recall by searching their vehicle’s identifying number (VIN) on the Product Safety Australia website, run by the ACCC. They can also check www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au.
The ACCC says it is seeking to finalise further recalls by Honda and Mitsubishi in the coming weeks.
The full list of affected cars is here: https://www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls/recall-of-takata-nadi-5-at-airbags
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