Thousands of deadly Takata airbags remain on the streets of Australian cities

2 November 2020

Over 90,000 cars with deadly Takata airbags are still on Australian roads according to the ACCC’s latest quarterly update, and more than half of these are located in just three of Australia’s largest capital cities.

New figures which highlight the locations with the most airbags yet to be replaced, show over 46,000 of the remaining cars nationally are in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, particularly in the outer suburbs. There also significant numbers of outstanding airbags across the other capital cities.

“These airbags are very dangerous and have the potential to explode with too much force, even in minor accidents, sending sharp metal fragments into the vehicle at high speed, potentially killing or seriously injuring its occupants,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

There have been more than 330 injuries and 30 deaths reported worldwide, with one death and three injuries in Australia, including one serious injury.  

Under the recall, owners are entitled to have their faulty Takata airbags replaced free of charge. Owners should check if their airbag is affected by entering their number plate and state or territory at ismyairbagsafe.com.au, or by texting ‘TAKATA’ to 0487 AIRBAG (247 224).

While more than 3.7 million affected airbags have already been replaced in 2.71 million Australian vehicles, there are still over 107,000 airbags in more than 90,000 cars remaining.

“We are concerned about the disproportionate number of outstanding airbags in some communities, including those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, where there has been less take up of the free replacement service,” Ms Rickard said.

“Manufacturers have found it difficult to reach owners in these communities who may not have been as responsive to the warnings and notices sent to them, calls, text messages or in the case of critical vehicles, in person visits, urging them to get their airbags replaced.”

The ACCC has been working to raise awareness and educate consumers across a range of communities to check to make sure their car is not under recall.

“It is important that we all help spread the word. Talk to your friends and family about the recall and offer to help them check their car,” Ms Rickard said.

“It takes less than a minute and together by getting the airbag replaced, we can help reduce the number of dangerous airbags in cars on our roads,”

“Anyone whose car is subject to the recall should not delay and contact a dealership to book their car in urgently for a free airbag replacement.”

“A number of state and territory registration authorities are also imposing registration sanctions in relation to vehicles affected by the compulsory recall. If you don’t act now, registration of your vehicle could be at risk,” Ms Rickard said.

Additionally, many areas still have multiple vehicles which contain a more dangerous, ‘critical’ type airbag on the roads. Nationally, there are more than 6,200 vehicles which contain critical (both alpha and non-alpha) airbags awaiting urgent replacement.

“Vehicles which contain a ‘critical’ airbag should not be driven at all. Contact the manufacturer to arrange for it to be towed or a technician to be sent to you so the airbag can be replaced,” Ms Rickard said.

Consumers who are required to leave their vehicle with the manufacturer for more than 24 hours to have the airbag replaced may be entitled to a free loan car or have their transport costs covered for the period they are without their vehicle.

Consumers can visit ismyairbagsafe.com.au, the Product Safety Australia page, or contact their manufacturer to check if their vehicle is affected. A list of vehicle manufacturer helplines and contact details is available online

More information and statistics on individual states is available at: Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Facts and figures

  • In total, 3.7 million (89.9%) of airbags have been replaced in 2.71 million (88.6%) of vehicles.
  • This does not include the 306,909 (7.5%) of airbags in 258,518 (8.4%) of vehicles that manufacturers have deemed as written-off, unregistered for more than two consecutive years, stolen or modified, or where the owner was unable to be contacted or did not respond to recall notifications.
  • There are 107,329 (2.6%) of airbags remaining for replacement in 90,898 (3%) of vehicles.
  • There are 5,654 vehicles containing critical non-alpha airbags, and 552 vehicles containing alpha airbags.
  • Since the recall began, around 60,000 airbags have been replaced on average each month.

Australian capital cities and states with airbags to be replaced as at 30 September 2020

Region

Vehicles Repaired

Vehicles to be Repaired

   

Capital cities

States

Greater Melbourne

525,215

21,145

VIC: 26,262

Greater Sydney

508,460

17,550

NSW: 26,197

Brisbane

260,691

8,032

QLD: 15,912

Perth

223,699

6,189

WA: 7,919

Adelaide

139,457

3,234

SA: 3,995

Canberra including Queanbeyan*

55,718

1,827

ACT: 1,704

Hobart

25,541

797

TAS: 1899

Darwin

11,170

380

NT: 711

Other^

 

 

6,299

Australia

 

 

90,898

*Queanbeyan postcode figures are not included in ACT totals, only for Canberra postcode data
^Manufacturers are working to determine where these vehicles are and if they are still on the road.

Notes to editors

  • The Takata airbag recall is the world’s largest automotive recall, affecting an estimated 100 million vehicles globally.
  • It is the most significant compulsory recall in Australia’s history, with over four million affected Takata airbag inflators and involving more than three million vehicle recalls.
  • Takata airbags affected by the compulsory recall use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN). The ACCC’s investigation concluded that certain types of Takata PSAN airbags have a design defect. The defect may cause the airbag to deploy with too much explosive force so that sharp metal fragments shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them.
  • Vehicle manufacturers are required to ensure all cars with affected Takata airbags have their airbags replaced by 31 December 2020 or provide adequate evidence to the ACCC to satisfy deemed compliance requirements.
  • Deemed compliance applies to unresponsive or uncontactable consumers where supplier communication obligations have been met, cars unregistered for two years or more, or those that are written-off, exported or stolen.
  • Manufacturers have ongoing obligations to replace outstanding inflators where they have not achieved 100 per cent actual replacement. Manufacturers must also retrieve spare parts when notified. This obligation extends beyond 31 December 2020 until 100 per cent actual completion is achieved.   
  • In addition to the compulsory recall of vehicles fitted with Takata PSAN airbags, eight vehicle manufacturers have also issued voluntary recalls for some vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 2000, which may have been fitted with a different type of faulty Takata airbag, being a NADI airbag. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications monitors the NADI voluntary recalls.
Release number: 
231/20
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