Mitsubishi: 100000 customers must act over 'clear risk' posed by Takata airbags

Gwen Vasquez
March 2, 2018

The federal government has announced a compulsory recall of vehicles in Australia fitted with defective Takata airbags.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said the compulsory recall campaign would initially focus on the more risky Alpha airbags, which are linked to Australia's only known Takata-related fatality.

The Minister made a decision to issue a compulsory recall based on extensive evidence provided by the ACCC which showed a reasonably foreseeable use of vehicles with defective Takata airbags may cause injury to drivers and/or passengers, and one or more suppliers of vehicles with defective Takata airbags have not taken satisfactory action to prevent those vehicles causing injury to drivers and/or passengers. Consequently, upon deployment the inflator could rupture explosively, destroying the metal casing surrounding the propellant and spraying shrapnel into the vehicle's passenger cabin.

"The compulsory recall will force manufacturers, dealers, importers and other suppliers to ensure that all unsafe Takata air bags are located and replaced as quickly as possible", he said.

"I've agreed with this recommendation because the previous voluntary recall has not been satisfactory overall, and it's the safety of all Australians which is the first priority of this government", he said.

Vehicle manufacturers, dealers, suppliers and importers have been ordered by the Federal Government to replace "dangerous" Takata airbags as quickly as possible.

Mr Sukkar said that over the next two years, manufacturers will be required to progressively identify their recalls and replace airbags in affected vehicles.

About 2.7 million vehicles have been recalled voluntarily, and 1.7 million had their airbags replaced.

"If a recalled vehicle has an alpha airbag, there is an immediate and extreme safety risk and these vehicles should not be driven", Sukkar said.

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"Testing by Takata Corporation of their airbag inflators removed from Australian cars has shown there is a clear risk to vehicle occupants".

A full-page advertisement in national newspapers directs owners of potentially affected vehicles to this website to check if their auto needs a new inflator.

- Other high-risk airbags will be determined by three factors: age, the location of the vehicle (in areas of high heat or humidity), and the location of the airbag in the vehicle.

All affected airbags must be replaced by the end of 2020.

It is the first compulsory recall of vehicles in Australia.

But Assistant Minister Michael Sukkar said today that voluntary recall had not been robust enough.

A report by an independent monitor said that as of September 15, 2017, automakers had replaced only 43 per cent since Takata recalls began in 2001. "It's critical they get replaced".

Vehicle companies offered mixed reactions to the ACCC's initial call for mandatory recalls in September 2017. You can check to see if your vehicle is affected on the ACCC Takata airbag recall page.

The government action comes after federal Labor called for a compulsory recall in August past year. "That design fault will materialise over time", he said.

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