The Turnbull Government is demanding urgent answers from vehicle manufacturers about their program to recall vehicles which include potentially faulty Takata airbags, following the recent tragic death of a motorist in Sydney, alleged by NSW police to be a Takata airbag deploying incorrectly.
‘Following discussions today between me, my Ministerial colleague Michael McCormack and Chairman of the ACCC Rod Sims, Minister McCormack and I are writing today to all automotive manufacturers with models potentially affected, seeking a comprehensive status update on the progress of their recall program and their communications with owners of vehicles potentially affected,’ said Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher.
‘I have also directed my Department – the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which regulates the first supply of motor vehicles in Australia under the Commonwealth Motor Vehicle Standards Act – to provide me and Minister McCormack with an urgent and comprehensive report on the progress and current status of the recall program.’
The automobile manufacturers involved – BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Ferrari, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Performax, Subaru and Toyota – are conducting voluntary recall programs, which have been underway since 2009 when it first became known that there were flaws with Takata airbags.
The federal government has the power to impose mandatory recalls if necessary. This power sits with Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack who has responsibility for consumer protection, and he can exercise this power on the advice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
"Minister Fletcher and I will be working closely with the ACCC to ensure that everything is being done to inform and assist affected consumers. It is also important that car manufacturers and retailers inform consumers about replacement airbags as well," said Minister McCormack.
The two Ministers said they were determined to ensure that vehicle manufacturers were taking all possible steps to carry out the recall process as rapidly as possible, and that vehicles at highest risk were being given the highest priority.
The two Ministers said that the ACCC, which reports to Minister McCormack, and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which reports to Minister Fletcher, were working closely together on this issue – and would have all the support they needed at the political level.
Since 2009, vehicle manufacturers have been recalling vehicles fitted with potentially defective airbag inflators produced by Takata resulting in the mis-deployment of the airbag.
Takata is a Japanese company which manufactures airbags installed by many manufacturers in their vehicles sold around the world. The recall process, in Australia and elsewhere, began after it emerged that there were safety problems with certain airbags manufactured by Takata over a period of time.
If you are not sure if your vehicle is affected, as a first step you should go to product safety website of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which gives further information including a list of potentially affected makes and models of vehicle. If you discover that your vehicle is potentially affected, you should contact your local dealer as soon as possible.