- Takata Airbag Recall website launched: IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au
- 19,500 critical Takata ‘alpha’ airbag inflators are still on Australian roads
- 1.6 million vehicles in Australia need to have their faulty Takata airbag inflators replaced by December 2020
- Older vehicles in hot and humid climates are at increased risk
Vehicle owners throughout Australia are being urged by the industry’s peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) to check if their vehicles are fitted with a faulty Takata airbag inflator via a new, centralised website as part of a compulsory nationwide recall.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber today (30 July) launched the automotive industry-backed website www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au and a national advertising campaign to drive vehicle owners to the site to check their number plate against the database of affected vehicles.
Replacement of the affected airbag inflator is free.
The campaign’s powerful message “Don’t Die Wondering” is deliberately confronting and provocative to gain the attention of more than 1.6 million vehicle owners whose Takata airbag inflators currently, or in the future, will need replacing.
There have been 24 reported deaths and 266 injuries worldwide caused by mis-deploying Takata airbag inflator ruptures.
Mr Weber highlighted the critical need to replace ‘alpha’-type airbag inflators, which are a subset of faulty Takata airbag inflators that pose the greatest safety risk to vehicle occupants.
These alpha airbag inflators were installed in certain Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus models sold between 2001 and 2004.
“Some 19,500 vehicles in Australia still need to have their alpha airbag inflators replaced as a matter of utmost urgency,” Mr Weber said. “In certain circumstances, there is a chance as high as 1-in-2 that these may rupture on deployment in a collision. These vehicles with alpha airbag inflators should not be driven and owners should immediately contact their manufacturer.
“If a faulty Takata airbag inflator ruptures, metal fragments will propel out of the airbag and into the vehicle cabin, potentially causing serious injury or death to occupants. It is vital that vehicle owners don’t underestimate the seriousness of this national recall.”
The extreme urgency attached to alpha airbag inflator replacements has resulted in attempts to contact owners multiple times – often as many as five or six times via mail and other contact methods such as SMS and phone calls.
The industry has already replaced Takata airbag inflators in almost half of the 3.05 million vehicles affected nationwide, therefore mitigating the subsequent risk to those vehicle occupants.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is responsible for enforcing the compulsory recall and industry implementation of a national awareness campaign developed by the FCAI.
“We welcome the addition of industry’s new web tool as an easy way for consumers to check if their vehicles are affected. The safety of drivers and their loved ones is at the heart of the recall and we welcome industry’s efforts to improve consumer awareness,” said ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard.
The risk of faulty Takata airbag inflators mis-deploying may arise after the first six years in the worst conditions from exposure to high temperatures and humidity levels.
This has assisted the affected car brands in prioritising those vehicles which are most at risk to help manage the complex supply and rectification process at the dealer level.
The worldwide shortage of replacement airbag inflators meant that it has been necessary for some vehicles to undergo an interim fix with brand new Takata airbag inflators. These airbag inflators used for the interim fix do not pose any immediate risk but will need to be replaced again within six years.
“Any customer who has had an airbag inflator replaced should also check the website to find out if their vehicle will be subject to a future recall,” Mr Weber said.
Mr Weber said motorists had responded well to the voluntary recall however, it is estimated there are approximately 1.6 million cars on Australian roads identified as requiring their faulty Takata airbag inflator to be replaced now, or in the future.
All affected automotive brands involved in the recall have been contacting vehicle owners, or will do so in the immediate future, to alert them to the need to take action and arrange to have their faulty Takata airbag inflators replaced.
Motorists can check their vehicles are affected immediately via the website:
www.IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au, or text the word “Takata” to 0487 AIRBAG (0487 247 224) for further advice.