Science

Takata airbag recall to affect nearly 4m cars in Australia

Takata airbag recall to affect nearly 4m cars in Australia

Nearly four million cars fitted with risky Takata airbags are the subject of a compulsory recall after the federal government said it was unhappy with the industry response.

Up to a million more cars could be recalled over faulty airbags, bringing the total count of affected vehicles to four million.

Takata airbags have been linked to at least 23 deaths globally, including one in Australia, according to a statement by the Australian Treasury. Consequently, upon deployment the inflator could rupture explosively, destroying the metal casing surrounding the propellant and spraying shrapnel into the vehicle's passenger cabin.

Australia's consumer body triggered compulsory recalls for the first time on Monday, asking Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar to compel reluctant auto companies to replace airbag inflators in dozens of popular models.

Mitsubishi asked the ACCC to "require state and territory registration authorities to take a more proactive role in this recall by denying registration of vehicles fitted with affected Takata airbag inflators".

Drivers are urged to check whether their motor vehicles have been recalled in order to replace defective Takata airbags.

An investigation by Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission found that Takata airbag inflators without a desiccant - a drying agent - or with a calcium sulphate desiccant had a design flaw.

A number of vehicle suppliers in Australia have voluntarily recalled approximately 2.7 million vehicles containing defective Takata airbags since 2009.

"Alpha" Takata airbags are those which are considered to pose the highest safety risk and will be prioritised during the recall.

The scale of the recall is so big it will be done on a rolling basis with priority given to replacing airbags posing the most risk.

Last year, the ACCC issued a voluntary recall on the 60 types of cars sold in Australia that used the faulty airbags.

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Note: Additional vehicles and their recall details will be added to the list by April 2018.

Vehicles older than six years are at a higher risk.

The airbags have caused multiple deaths and injuries worldwide.

Mr Sims said manufacturers would bear the cost of all replacements, and that consumers should not be overly inconvenienced by getting their airbags replaced.

The assistant minister to the treasurer, Michael Sukkar, announced the recall on Wednesday morning.

When you take your vehicle to a dealer to get replaced you are entitled to a hire auto.

The ACC believes about 27,000 of Takata's Alpha airbags are yet to be replaced.

They have been subject to multiple compulsory recalls outside Australia.

In Australia, a man was killed and a woman was seriously injured in relation to the airbag past year, according to the ACCC.

A spokesman for the brand said "we will comply with the letter of the recall".