Over 4,000 dangerous Takata airbags replaced a day but many still at risk


Despite 80 percent of recalled Takata airbags in Australian vehicles having been replaced since July 2017, there are growing concerns that some communities are not getting the message.

Since the ACCC’s recommendation for a compulsory recall began in March 2018, an average of almost 77,000 vehicles have had airbags replaced each month – or more than 4, 175 airbag replacements each and every business day.

However, ACCC data analysis from its latest quarterly figures published today, shows that rural and regional communities, and those from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background are falling behind the rest of the country with airbag replacement rates.

As part of its approach to administering the recall, the ACCC has worked to raise awareness and educate consumers across a range of these communities about how to check if they are affected by the recall.

“We’ve met with key community organisations around Australia who have been very helpful in spreading the word about the importance of the recall and the need for vehicle owners to act,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The ACCC’s Indigenous Outreach Officers have also visited Indigenous communities in South Australia and Queensland to increase awareness about the recall in these communities. Many of these communities are also located in areas with high heat and humidity, which are known exacerbating factors for faulty Takata airbags.

“We’re urging all consumers, especially those from regional and rural areas and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to check if their vehicle is affected, and help spread the word to their family and friends,” Ms Rickard said.

“We also encourage children whose parents may not have strong written English skills, to help their parents check to make sure their car is not under recall.”

“If you know someone who you think may not be aware of the recall, tell them about it and offer to help them check their car. It takes less than a minute to go online and check on IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au.”

“Please do not ignore or delay responding to recall notifications about the Takata airbag recall. If your vehicle is under active recall, you should act now to arrange a free replacement.”

More information is available on the Product Safety Australia website.

Takata fast facts:

  • 3.21 million airbags have now been replaced in 2.28 million vehicles.
  • There are approximately 604,000 (less than 15 per cent) of airbags remaining in 537,000 vehicles as at 30 June 2019.
  • This excludes 255,000 airbags (over 6 per cent) in 218,000 vehicles which Suppliers have identified as written-off, scrapped, stolen, modified and unable to have the airbag replaced.
  • The ACCC visited the Tiwi Islands, Thursday Island and the Northern Peninsula Area, Gulf communities of Mornington Island and Doomadgee, the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in north-west South Australia, and Palm Island in north Queensland as part of its Takata outreach initiative.
  • Suppliers are legally required to recall and replace all defective airbags as soon as they can following the priority risk factors. This must be done by 31 December 2020 (unless varied through an application to the ACCC).
  • The compulsory recall is the most significant recall in Australian history affecting over four million Takata airbag inflators in around three million vehicles. The Takata airbag recall is the world’s largest recall, affecting an estimated 100 million vehicles globally. 

Figure 1. Recall progress over time

Recall progress data as at 30 June 2019.

  • Note: The information above includes fully rectified vehicles only (it excludes vehicles fitted with like-for-like replacements that will require future replacement). In Australia the first voluntary recall commenced in 2009; however, the graph starts from 2015 when the number of recalls began to increase as more vehicle manufacturers initiated recalls.