26 July 2017
Consumer group CHOICE is calling for Honda to urgently notify the 42,000 Australians who received like-for-like replacement airbags about the ongoing risk they face. It is also renewing its call for Nissan and Mitsubishi to end their silence on like-for-like replacements.
"Honda's belated admission it is refitting like-for-like Takata airbags - placing customers at risk as those airbags degrade - and it's ongoing failure to notify customers is staggering," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"For every 400 Takata airbag deployments, one ruptures, spraying metal shards and debris into the cabin of a car, with this number jumping to 1-in-2 if you have an Alpha airbag. The risk of death or injury is very real.
"There is also still debate around how long the dodgy Takata airbags take to break down, but variables like humidity can affect safety.
"Because of this ongoing and serious risk, it's time the car companies made it crystal clear to consumers exactly what kind of airbag they have in their car, how long it will take to fail and when they'll need to get it replaced again.
"Honda's apparent approach to this incredibly serious recall illustrates the failings of our product safety system.
"It's clear companies feel little-to-no requirement to inform customers about the risks they may face. It's time for a general safety provision coupled with strong penalties to be written into Australian Consumer Law to protect consumers and end this product safety charade," Mr Godfrey says.
The call comes following CHOICE's revelation earlier this week that Toyoya, Mazda, BMW, Lexus and Subaru had been making like-for-like replacements of lethal Takata airbags.
"Although five companies confirmed to CHOICE they had been refitting the same potentially lethal airbags, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi had all remained silent on the issue," says Mr Godfrey.
"The car companies' lack of transparency and urgency in fixing this issue is deeply concerning and consumers now need urgent and meaningful action.
"We are also concerned about reports consumers are being told they will have to wait in excess of six months to receive a remedy. Given the serious nature of this failure, and the very real risk of death and injury, this seems like an unreasonably long period of time to be left waiting."
With 1.45 million cars still to receive any remedy in Australia, CHOICE is encouraging consumers to check productsafety.gov.au and the manufacturer's website to see if their car is on the recall list.
For more information go to: www.choice.com.au/takatafaqs. Consumers can also join CHOICE's call for a general safety provision and a stronger consumer law at: choice.com.au/consumerlaw.
Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669