Takata: Eight car makers haven't recalled dangerous airbags

Drivers of over 800,000 cars are affected and don't yet know.

At least eight car manufacturers who have cars fitted with Takata airbags in Australia have not voluntarily recalled them, even though they have been recalled in overseas markets.

The revelation was among many featured in the draft mandatory recall notice issued this afternoon by Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business, upon the recommendation of the ACCC investigative task force.

Ford, Audi, Jaguar, Volkswagen, GM Holden, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Tesla have cars sold in Australia fitted with dangerous Takata airbags, but the car makers have not issued recalls on the basis of where they were manufactured.

This means approximately 877,000 vehicles sold by these car makers are fitted with airbags that rely on a volatile chemical (ammonium nitrate) that has a documented track record of decaying over time.

The car makers claim the airbags were manufactured to more stringent standards in a factory based in Freiberg, Germany, and that none of those airbags have ruptured in their cars.

But the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has taken a leading effort in dealing with the recall, reports there have been six documented cases of the German-manufactured airbags rupturing from August 2016 to May 2017, in countries that include Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey.

The flaw these airbags sustained is inherent to its design, the NHTSA claims, regardless of where the airbags were manufactured.

The models affected by the eight carmakers are not yet known, CHOICE understands, as information on the recall is still being compiled.

The number of vehicles being recalled has steadily increased to 2.5 million; this is equivalent to one-in-eight Australian cars being recalled.

It is estimated 950,000 of these cars have been repaired, giving the industry a completion rate of 38.5%.

More to follow.


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