Australia recalls 2.3 million cars

The Australian government has issued a compulsory recall of more 2 million vehicles fitted with defective air bags made by Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp.

Speaking at a news conference in Canberra, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the recall of 2.3 million vehicles was the “largest and most significant recall in the nation’s history.”

“The compulsory recall will force manufacturers, dealers, importers and other suppliers to ensure that all dangerous Takata airbags are located and replaced as quickly as possible,” Sukkar said.

The assistant minister said that 4 million Australian cars in total had been affected by the defective airbags, or about two in seven cars on the road.

“Tragically there’s been one death and one case of serious injury in Australia as a result of the deployment of these airbags, and the government just doesn’t want to see anymore,” he said.

The motor industry’s peak body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), said the industry would move “heaven and earth” to satisfy the requirements of the compulsory Takata airbag recall announced today by the Federal Government.

“The safety of our customers is our utmost priority,” FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said.

“That’s why the industry will do its utmost to comply with the conditions set down in the legislation.”

“We already know from the voluntary recall which has been underway for some years that there are a number of significant issues in getting the affected vehicles rectified. These include difficulties contacting the affected customers, constraints imposed by replacement airbag supply and the ability of the networks to process such a huge number of vehicles.”

“However, we know our brands are determined to do their part and have in place strategies to prioritise vehicles and have this recall addressed by 31 December 2020, as determined by the Minister.”

Around 4 million vehicles have been identified as affected by the recall. However, some 1.7 million have already been rectified by the industry under the previous voluntary agreement conducted over a number of years and in full consultation with the Federal government and the ACCC.

A further 859,000 cars were added under the compulsory recall announced today.

Cars on the compulsory recall list include various models that have already been subject to a voluntary recall — Toyota, Mazda, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and several others.

“We are calling on the state and territory governments to work with us on this issue, as we know that will deliver the safest outcome. Surely that is what we all want.”

No plans to initiate such a move in New Zealand

While the Australian government has announced a recall, the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says there are no plans to initiate the same here in New Zealand.

Currently, there are voluntary recalls being undertaken by several different manufacturers in New Zealand. But no reported incidents related to faulty Takata airbags.

The NZTA told Stuff: “The NZ Transport Agency is working with the vehicle industry to ensure that the current voluntary recalls are carried out to a satisfactory level, and that all of the manufacturers involved in the recall are offering the appropriate repair or replacement to vehicle owners.”

In October last year, it was revealed that around 300,000 vehicles in New Zealand were affected by the fault. A Fair Go investigation at the time showed just 60,000 of the 300,000 vehicles in New Zealand had been fixed, prompting numerous media stories about the recall.

Click here to read the NZTA’s most commonly asked questions regarding the recall.

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