Almost two million deadly Takata airbags still in Australian cars

Published: 
2 Aug 2018

The ACCC has released comprehensive state-by-state data detailing recall rates for deadly Takata airbags, and the first data detailing progress made by various vehicle manufacturers in removing them from Australian cars.

The ACCC says one year since the ACCC started overseeing the Takata airbag recall,
1.8 million potentially deadly airbags still need replacing as part of a compulsory recall that will run until 2020.

Over the past 12 months, 1.1 million faulty Takata airbags have been replaced in around 930,000 vehicles.

New data provided by vehicle manufacturers shows the location of all known registered vehicles and number of airbag inflators affected that require a replacement.

Figure 1. State and territory breakdown of airbags needing replacement

*Manufacturers are working to determine where these vehicles are and if they are still on the road.

Motorists warned not to become complacent

Despite good progress, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard is warning motorists not to be complacent about having airbags replaced.

“Don’t ignore or delay responding to a letter or call from your car’s manufacturer asking you to have your airbag replaced. The airbags degrade over time and can become lethal by misdeploying and firing metal shards at the car’s occupants,” Ms Rickard said.

The most dangerous airbags, known as “alpha” airbags, were fitted to about 115,000 cars, with around 19,500 still potentially on the roads. These airbags require urgent replacement and drivers should not drive cars containing these airbags until they have been fixed.

“Our greatest concern remains around the alpha airbags, which can still be found in almost 20,000 cars. Make no mistake, these airbags can kill and our advice is for consumers to check our website to see if there car is affected by this recall. If your car contains an alpha airbag, it should not be driven.”

Figure 2. Suppliers commencing recall action prior to 1 July 2018

Figure 3. Suppliers commencing recall action from 1 July 2018

Note: Suppliers were not required to commence recalling vehicles until 1 July, although some began earlier. The information below is correct as of 30 June 2018 and will be updated regularly to track replacement rates.

Advertising campaign underway

Ms Rickard welcomed the launch of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries national consumer awareness campaign ‘Faulty airbags? Don’t die wondering’ and new online tool, www.ismyairbagsafe.com.au and text service 0487 AIRBAG.

“The website provides an easy place to enter your car’s number plate to check if it’s affected and I encourage everyone who owns a car to visit this site,” Ms Rickard said.

For more information about the recall visit the Product Safety Australia website www.productsafety.gov.au Regular updates will be published on the Takata recalls progress data page.

Background

  • This month marks the one year anniversary since the ACCC’s Takata Taskforce began its safety investigation. Under the voluntary recall that began in 2009, some 950,000 airbags were replaced.

  • On 28 February 2018 the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar issued a compulsory recall notice for vehicles containing faulty Takata airbags, following the ACCC’s safety investigation.

  • The compulsory recall requires Suppliers to replace all faulty Takata airbags in Australian vehicles by 31 December 2020 (unless varied by application and approved by the ACCC). Some vehicles will be recalled immediately, and others on a rolling basis, according to various factors including relative safety risk. This means that not all vehicles will be recalled straight away.

  • The global recall of Takata airbags is the largest in history and has affected millions of Australians.