The consumer watchdog hopes new figures on the recalled Takata airbags will put manufacturers on notice to replace “ticking time bombs” as quickly as possible.
- There are 1.6 million cars with the airbags that have not been fixed
- The ACCC has revealed where the cars are and the rate at which manufacturers are replacing the faulty devices
- It comes the same week a national awareness campaign launched including a site where motorists can check their registration to see whether their car is affected
There are 1.6 million cars that still need to be fixed and 19,000 of them have the potentially deadly alpha airbag.
For the first time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed where the cars are and the rate at which manufacturers are replacing the faulty devices.
New South Wales has the highest number of vehicles yet to be fixed at 448,000, closely followed by Victoria at 400,000.
Where are the vehicles that still need airbag(s) replaced?
- NSW: 448,237 (including 5,174 alpha airbags)
- Vic: 400,264 (including 4,532 alpha airbags)
- Qld: 288,520 (including 2,505 alpha airbags)
- WA: 144,219 (including 1,156 alpha airbags)
- SA: 92,882 (including 617 alpha airbags)
- Tas: 33,851 (including 244 alpha airbags)
- ACT: 27,739 (including 241 alpha airbags)
- NT: 9,846 (including 117 alpha airbags)
- Other*: 147,646 (including 4,693 alpha airbags)
*Where vehicle location/postcode is unknown or has not been supplied by the vehicle manufacturer.
Between those two states nearly 10,000 of the affected cars have the ‘alpha’ airbag, which ACCC chairwoman Delia Rickard said should not be on the road.
“I think they are ticking time bombs, which is why we have been unequivocal in our advice,” Ms Rickard told AM.
“If you have one of these cars don’t drive it … there’s a one in two chance that if there is a collision those bags could explode [and] spray metal shrapnel all over the car,” she said.
Cars carrying the alpha airbags include those manufactured within specific timeframes in the following models:
- BMW 3 Series E46
- Honda Accord, CR-V, Civic, Accord Euro, Jazz, MDX
- Lexus SC430
- Mazda 6, RX-8
- Nissan N16, Pulsar, Y61 Patrol, D22 Navara, T30 X-Trail
- Toyota Corolla, Avensis Verso, Echo, Rav 4
Lists of the exact vehicles are available on the ACCC website.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) chief executive Tony Weber said manufacturers had gone to extreme lengths to try and track people down.
“That includes letters, telephone calls and even to the extent of private investigators knocking on people’s doors trying to get them into dealerships,” he said.
The FCAI also launched a website this week that helps motorists check if their car has been affected with a quick registration search, as part of a multi-million-dollar awareness campaign.
Toyota hardest hit
The ACCC has outlined the number of cars each manufacturer needs to recall and how the process has been tracking.
Toyota (which includes its luxury brand Lexus) has been hit the hardest with 582,000 cars affected, followed by Honda at 436,000 and Holden with 330,000.
Mazda has the highest replacement rate at 84 per cent, followed by Honda.
Ms Rickard said she was “quite pleased” with the way things were tracking and was hopeful releasing the figures on a quarterly basis would ensure manufacturers were held to account.
“One of the things we are doing by making the replacement rates publicly available, it creates the incentive on all manufacturers to make sure they are putting their all into it,” she said.
“Should we become worried about anyone and we think they’re not doing the right thing, we have no hesitation on calling them out for it.”
The figures vary because some manufacturers have known for longer than others that their vehicles needed attention.
During the time in which this data was collected, some suppliers were not under obligation to start the recall process.
Vehicles affected by Takata airbag recalls
How have companies responded?
The ACCC has released a detailed list of each supplier with affected vehicles and the number of those they have rectified as of the end of June 2018.
These figures include vehicles included in both lists — active recalls (those with defective airbags that need to be replaced ASAP) and future recalls (those with defective airbags that do not put passengers in imminent danger but should be replaced eventually).
Some suppliers have known for longer than others that their vehicles needed attention, but many have not started the process yet.
|Supplier||Total vehicles affected||Vehicles rectified|
|Honda MPE (motorbikes)||655||593 (90.53%)|
|Honda (cars)||436,965||324,938 (74.36%)|
|Toyota (including Lexus)||582,756||390,572 (67.02%)|
|Fiat Chrysler||36,620||16,525 (45.13%)|
|Jaguar Land Rover||17,454||0|
Manufacturer vs consumer responsibility
Mr Weber said it was a “good thing” if the data brought more attention to the recall, but he was worried some people would misinterpret it.
“I think the difficulty with these tables is actually understanding what it means, many of the airbags that are now being recalled in Australia have come into the list in the last six months, so it can easily be misunderstood,” he told AM.
He has urged motorists not to focus too much on the overall figures but instead look at their own situation.
“The general public should only be concerned about their own vehicle and the vehicle of their family and friends, and they should go and investigate the status of their vehicles,” he said.
The Is My Airbag Safe website launched by the FCAI earlier this week has already had more than 500,000 hits.
Ms Rickard is confident the campaign will help track down some of the cars, but she said consumers also had a responsibility.
“I do think there has been a sense of complacency… when you get that recall notice act on it the day you receive it,” she said.
Mr Weber said the FCAI would consider introducing stronger measures if all the cars carrying alpha airbags could be identified.
“The other issue we can look at into the future, if these cars don’t come in, is talking to the states about not registering the vehicles in the future. That is an open discussion at the moment,” he said.