Takata airbag recall 'critical' as drivers urged not to use 20,000 cars

Guardian staff
<span>Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

The consumer watchdog has warned that the recall of 20,000 vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags is now classified as “critical”.

The vehicles from major carmakers, including BMW, Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota, have already been recalled, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning motorists not to drive the affected cars at all until the airbags have been replaced.

Motorists can check whether their car is affected by visiting IsMyAirbagSafe.com.au or the vehicle manufacturer’s website and entering their VIN number.

“Classification as ‘critical’ means manufacturers have assessed these airbags as being particularly unsafe. A Takata airbag misdeployment can result in death or serious injury, even in a minor collision,” the ACCC deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said.

Related: Takata airbag recall: ACCC adds another 1.1 million vehicles to list

“Under this urgent recall, drivers are entitled to have their vehicles towed to the dealership by the manufacturer and have the airbag replaced for free. Drivers may be entitled to a loan vehicle while the airbag is replaced.”

The faulty airbags, which can spray shrapnel when deployed, have been linked to 23 deaths worldwide, including one in Sydney in 2017.

Suppliers are required to replace all defective airbags by the end of 2020. Cars with the high-risk “alpha” airbags, which have a one in two chance of exploding dangerously during a crash, are the top priority.

As at 31 August 2019 around 3.36m airbags (82.4% of total airbags supplied) have now been replaced in 2.41 m vehicles (some vehicles have a driver and passenger airbag).

There remains around 483,071 airbags in 425,971 vehicles still subject to the recall.

“This recall is a rolling recall, which means that more vehicles can be added to the critical category at any time, and we’re urging consumers not to ignore recall messages from manufacturers to get their airbag replaced,” Rickard said.

These critically affected vehicles must not be driven and can be towed to the dealership by the manufacturer to have airbags replaced for free.

  • Holden, 1,843 vehicles: 2010 Holden Cruze

  • Honda, 6,043 vehicles: Honda City MY2012; CR-V MY 2011; Insight MY2012-2013; Jazz MY2012-2014 and Jazz Hybrid MY2012-2013; Honda Civic MY2006-2011; Jazz Hybrid MY2012 and Legend MY2007-2012; Honda Accord MY2001-2007 and Honda MDX MY2003-2006

  • Toyota, 582 vehicles: 2003-2005 Toyota Echo and Rav4

  • BMW, 7,909 vehicles: BMW 5 Series (E39) MY2002-2003; BMW 3 Series (E46) MY2001-2006 and BMW X5 (E53) MY2003

  • Mitsubishi, 3,254 vehicles: 2007-2014 ML and MN Triton.