The Takata airbag fiasco has officially become the biggest car recall in history, with at least 60 different Australian vehicles needing replacement parts.
BMW, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota are among the manufacturers affected by the widespread recall, with CHOICE’s investigation suggesting only one third of the 2.3 million Australian vehicles have currently been fixed. Globally the airbag recall is estimated to involve over 100 million cars.
The defective airbags have rightfully been labelled a “ticking time bomb”, with the faulty devices linked to 18 deaths worldwide including the death of a 58-year-old Sydney man in a Honda vehicle earlier this month.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the company wanted to “express our deepest thoughts and condolences to the family” while also reiterating an urgent message for consumers affected by the recall process.
“We’re sending out the call for anyone who has a recall notice to take immediate attention of that notice and contact their manufacturer and book their car in for repair.”
Harrowing tests have shown that on deployment the faulty Takata airbags have sent dangerous shrapnel, metal shards and other foreign material into the cabin and toward the path of defenseless drivers. As part of their investigations, CHOICE claimed that in some cases some of the faulty airbags were being replaced with nothing more than a band-aid solution.
“Manufacturers are installing new iterations of the recalled airbags as a temporary fix, after investigations revealed the fault develops over time,” CHOICE news editor Tony Ibrahim said.
“A percentage were treated with like-for-like replacements and will therefore have to be recalled again.”
Just as worrying for consumers is the estimated wait time for replacement parts. Conservative predictions suggest a six month average delay, but in practice many have had to endure waits of almost a year. In the meantime it has left many drivers effectively playing a game of Russian roulette while driving the recalled vehicles.
Takata estimates it will take until at least 2020 for all airbags to be replaced. The Japanese based provider filed for bankruptcy last month, with the magnitude of recall costs taking its financial and manufacturing toll on the airbag developer. The majority of the company’s assets have since been sold to Key Safety Systems (KSS), with Takata set to close up shop completely once the recall project is completed.
In light of the findings from CHOICE, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an urgent investigation into the recall of Takata airbags. You can read more about CHOICE’s findings here.