Recall and repairs of Takata airbags 'has taken way too long'

16 August 2017
Airbag deflated in car
Airbag deflated in car

21 September 2017 UPDATE: The Australian Government has issued a Proposed Recall Notice for a compulsory recall of all vehicles with defective Takata airbags installed, following an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) safety investigation.

A joint statement issued today states that: 

"The Proposed Recall Notice will require suppliers to replace all defective Takata airbags by 31 December 2020, with priority given to airbags which pose the greatest safety risk, particularly vehicles with ‘alpha’ airbags."

Consumer group CHOICE has welcomed this decision to initiate a compulsory recall of potentially lethal Takata airbags that, if finalised, will see car companies who don’t quickly replace airbags be forced to provide refunds to car owners.

At least eight manufacturers still have Takata airbags in their cars but haven’t voluntarily issued a recall, including: Audi, Ford, Jaguar, Volkswagen, GM Holden, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Tesla where models have been recalled overseas.

The additional cars are not included in the current list of voluntary recalls. The details of affected models are still being compiled and are due to be released soon. More info for consumers on the proposed compulsory recall notice is available here.

Not sure if your car is on the list?

We recommend going to the website for a list of all models affected.


As many as one-in-two cars with Takata's older 'Alpha' model airbags have a defect that could cause serious injury or death, consumer group CHOICE has warned. But recalls and repairs of these defective airbags are taking way too long.

The 50,000 vehicles affected are popular models within the ranges of Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Honda and Nissan.

NRMA media spokesperson Peter Khoury said car manufacturers need to do more to get these airbags replaced immediately, especially with the number of Alpha airbag cars still being driven.

"It is very concerning. We want them taken out and fixed," he said.

"Whatever the manufacturers can do to make it easier for drivers should be done: if this means providing replacement cars or rental cars, so be it.

"The costs should not be a factor here — they [car companies] sold the cars, they made profits off the cars, the cars are unsafe so they have to fix them.

"This needs to be a priority, it has taken way too long."

Consumers have been warned that the 50,000 cars with Takata's Alpha airbags are even more likely to be lethally defective than the others being recalled.

It is the latest escalation in a recall of 2.35 million cars across Australia fitted with airbags manufactured by Japanese automotive parts company Takata.

Faulty Takata airbags are already linked to 17 deaths globally and are the subject of the biggest recall in global automotive history.

To date there has been one death in Australia connected with the airbags, as well as at least one injury.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said drivers should take affected cars in for repairs immediately.

"The only trip I would consider making if I owned one of those 50,000 cars with suspect airbags would be driving to the repairer to get them replaced," she said.

Although the ACCC said the drivers of any affected cars, even those with newer Takata airbags, should have them repaired as a matter of urgency.

CHOICE spokesman Tom Godfrey questioned the lack of clarity on the issue from manufacturers.

"The car companies have remained silent about the heightened risk of Alpha airbags," he said.

"Standard Takata airbags fail one-in-400 times, but these Alpha airbags, the failure rate is one-in-two." 

Ms Rickard agreed that repairs for the Alpha airags are not being done quickly enough.

"There were around 150,000 of those Alpha airbag cars," she said.

"About 100,000 have been remedied but that still leaves a very concerning 50,000 out there to be remedied."