I have today issued a compulsory recall notice for vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags, following an extensive safety investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The compulsory recall will capture approximately 2.3 million vehicles that still have a defective airbag that needs replacement. This includes vehicles made by Ford, GM Holden, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda. This is in addition to existing voluntary recalls by BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Hino Trucks.
The compulsory recall places requirements on vehicle manufacturers, dealers, importers and other suppliers to ensure that dangerous Takata airbags are located and replaced as quickly as possible. Absolute priority will be given to replacing alpha airbags, which pose an immediate and critical safety risk.
The safety of all Australians is the highest priority of the Federal Government. Vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags have caused injuries and fatalities. Worldwide, there have been at least 23 deaths and over 230 serious injuries reported as associated with defective Takata airbags. In Australia last year, a man was tragically killed and a woman was seriously injured.
While almost one in five passenger vehicles on Australian roads have now been recalled, the voluntary recall process has not been effective in some cases, and some manufacturers have not taken satisfactory action to address the serious safety risk which arises after the airbags are more than six years old.
To ensure a coordinated recall, over the next two years manufacturers will be required to progressively identify their recalls and replace airbags in affected vehicles. Recalled vehicles are published on the Product Safety Website.
All defective Takata airbags will need to be replaced by 31 December 2020, with priority of replacement given to airbags based on a range of factors including age and exposure to heat and humidity. Consumers are urged to subscribe to receive notifications of new recalls as they are published.
In particular, if a recalled vehicle has an alpha airbag, there is an immediate and extreme safety risk and these vehicles should not be driven. Consumers should check if their vehicle is fitted with an alpha airbag at productsafety.gov.au and, if so, should not drive the vehicle and should immediately contact their dealer to arrange for replacement of the airbag.
If your vehicle is recalled, contact your local dealer or manufacturer to book in a time to have the airbag replaced. Due to the safety risk, do not ignore or delay responding to a letter from your vehicle manufacturer asking you to have airbags replaced.
The airbag replacement is free for vehicle owners.Manufacturers have until 3 April 2018 to provide details of the additional recalled vehicles to the ACCC.
Guidance for consumers and industry is available at www.productsafety.gov.au
Consumers who experience any difficulties or delays in obtaining a replacement airbag should contact the ACCC through the Product Safety webform.
Following the issue of a draft compulsory recall notice in late 2017, the ACCC’s Takata Taskforce consulted extensively with manufacturers, industry stakeholders and international experts in relation to the proposed recall of motor vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags. A recommendation was then provided to the Minister regarding a compulsory recall. Further information about the ACCC’s recommendation is available at www.productsafety.gov.au
This is the first compulsory recall of vehicles in Australia. The global recall of Takata airbag inflators is the largest in automotive history, affecting some 100 million vehicles worldwide.
Four million vehicles have been affected with defective Takata airbags across Australia. 2.7 million (including 115,000 with the high risk alpha airbags) have been voluntarily recalled. 1.7 million vehicles have had airbags replaced (including 90,000 alpha airbags), leaving around 1 million voluntarily recalled airbags to be replaced.
The total of four million includes an additional 1.3 million vehicles that are captured under the compulsory recall, which together with the one million vehicles recalled but yet to be replaced, means there are still around 2.3 million vehicles with defective airbags on the road (including about 25,000 with alpha airbags).