Extra Corolla and Yaris models are now in the queue of faulty Takata airbags
THE Takata airbag crisis continues to deepen in Australia, with market leader Toyota this month adding another 82,756 Corolla, Yaris and Avensis models to its recall list – close to the number of replacements it was yet to complete at the end of June, according to figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Car-makers affected by the Takata scandal are legally required to replace all defective airbags as soon as possible, with a deadline of December 31, 2020.
Meanwhile, all states and territories are now in the process of – or soon will be – cancelling or refusing renewal of registration on cars still fitted with the most dangerous ‘Alpha’ airbags.
The latest tranche of Toyotas comprises 62,377 Corolla sedans from model years 2001-2007, with those in from model year 2004 onwards on the ‘critical’ list, meaning owners are advised to immediately stop using their vehicles until the affected airbags are replaced.
Making up the rest of the Toyota recall are 16,878 Yaris sedans from model years 2006-2011, 2013 Avensis people-movers from MY2001-2003 and 1488 Corolla hatches from MY2003-2005. All concern the front passenger side airbags.
A batch of 35 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pick-up trucks from MY2007-2008 converted by Victorian American Imports also appeared on the ACCC’s growing Takata recall roster this month for the replacement of front passenger side airbags.
Consistent with all Takata airbag recall notices, the defect for these Toyota, Chevrolet and GMC models centres on the possibility that high temperatures, humidity and age can cause the airbag inflator propellant to degrade.
“If an affected vehicle is involved in a collision triggering the airbag, the metal inflator housing may explode/rupture under too much internal pressure,” the ACCC said.
“In the event of an airbag inflator rupture, metal fragments could propel out through the airbag cushion towards the vehicle occupants, causing serious injury or fatality.”
The deepening airbag crisis comes as an inquest into the death of the only person known to have died from a defective Takata airbag inflator in Australia, Huy Neng Ngo, 58, began in the NSW Coroners Court this week.
Mr Ngo was killed when the Honda CR-V he was driving crashed into another car in Cabramatta in Sydney’s west on July 13, 2017, and the inquest heard that shrapnel from the airbag inflicted a gunshot-like wound when it deployed during what was deemed to be only a relatively minor collision.
Earlier this month, the ACCC revealed that 600,000 potentially deadly Takata airbags were yet to be replaced as of June 30.
It also published a leaderboard of car-makers with the highest completion rates, with Mazda in first place having done 93.99 per cent of its 273,788 affected vehicles, Honda coming second with 91.83 per cent of 379,677 vehicles rectified and Mitsubishi third on 90.94 per cent of its 164,737-strong caseload.
Consistent with its iron grip on the top spot of the sales charts, Toyota had the highest number of Takata-affected cars in circulation – 538,861 – of which it had managed a completion rate of 83.16 per cent by June 30, leaving 90,750 outstanding.
GM Holden’s relatively low completion rate of 63.22 per cent left it more than 25,000 cars behind Toyota, despite having a smaller pool of 314,724 affected models.
Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen remained the biggest laggards on completion rate, with 53.17 per cent of 115,548 affected vehicles and 56.92 per cent of 99,699 affected vehicles respectively.
24 Sep 2019
By HAITHAM RAZAGUI