Exploding airbag crisis in Australia: 2.3 million vehicles recalled

Visitor walking past Takata sign in vehicle showroom- original

Exploding airbag crisis in Australia: 2.3 million vehicles recalled

The extraordinary move by the federal government to order a national recall of several million cars fitted with deadly airbags is long overdue, Australia's peak motoring body says.

The compulsory recall is one of the biggest product recalls in the Australian history and follows voluntary recalls by vehicle manufacturers in 2017.

More than 2.3 million vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags are involved in the mass recall, including cars made by Ford, GM Holden, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda.

"The safety of all Australians is the highest priority of the Federal Government", Sukkar said.

He also believes 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, a further reason for the compulsory recall.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ordered these manufacturers to provide a list of Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) of the 875,000 additional affected vehicles by April 3.

All defective Takata airbags will need to be replaced by the end of 2020, with priority of replacement given to airbags based on a range of factors including age and exposure to heat and humidity.

According to the ACCC, the recall affects two in seven cars in Australia. Vehicle owners can find a list of affected vehicles and more information on the ACCC website.

In an official announcement, the Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said that the replacements will happen in stages, with the most risky airbags being replaced first. But the government said those steps haven't been enough to deal with the danger, leaving around 2.3 million vehicles with the defective airbags still on the country's roads.

Continue to cooperate with auto manufacturers to ensure that replacement airbag inflators are made available as expeditiously as possible from all possible sources.

Wednesday's announcement followed an investigation by Australia's consumer watchdog, the Treasury said.

The Australian Government's action follows similar moves to speed up the airbag replacement process in United States and several other European countries.

They have been subject to multiple compulsory recalls outside Australia.

The action is the Australian government's first mandatory vehicle recall.

The company has pleaded guilty to corporate criminal charges and agreed to pay a $1 billion fine in the U.S. It filed for bankruptcy previous year and much of its operations are being taken over by Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned company based in MI.

"We also talked with manufacturers to understand the effects of the recalls, and that what we're putting in place is both workable and is immediate as it possibly can be", Sims said.

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