More than 2 million cars will be forced off the road “largest and most significant recall in the nation’s history” as a result of faulty and potentially deadly airbags.
The federal government issued a compulsory recall for all vehicles fitted with faulty Takata airbags, following concerns about a defect that can cause them to explode and propel shrapnel into drivers and passengers.
“The recall will force manufacturers, dealers and other suppliers to ensure that all dangerous Takata airbags are located and replaced as quickly as possible,” Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar said.
“Priority will be given to airbags assessed as high risk, based on the following factors, aged, particularly where it’s over six years of age, location of the vehicle, particularly in areas of high heat and humidity, and the location of the airbag within the vehicle.”
Ford, GM Holden, Meredes-Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda had been added to a compulsory list, with manufacturers required to provide details of the models affected to the ACCC by April 3.
The brands join BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ferrari, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Hino Trucks, which were subjected to a voluntary recall in 2017.
The Takata airbags have been linked to more than 23 deaths and 230 injuries around the world.
In Australia, a 58-year-old Sydney man died as a result of shrapnel from the driver’s airbag in his Honda CR-V in July, while a 21-year-old woman in the Northern Territory suffered head injuries when the Takata airbag in her Toyota RAV4 ruptured after a crash in April.
Mr Sukkar said the voluntary call had not been enough.
“I’ve agreed with this recommendation because the previous voluntary recall has not been satisfactory overall, and it’s the safety of all Australians which is the first priority of this government ,” he said.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said people who had replaced their airbags during the voluntary recall would need to check to see if their car was listed under the new recall, because faulty Takata airbags were replaced with the same brand in some cases.
It would delay the risk of the airbag exploding.
“What I want to stress here is that not all the…airbags are dangerous now,” Mr Sims said.
All affected airbags must be replaced by December 31 2020.