The number of vehicles in Australia affected by shrapnel-shooting Takata airbags has risen to 4 million, as the ACCC calls for car-owners to take immediate action.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on May 28, 2018

Australia’s consumer watchdog has added another million vehicles to the Takata recall list, pushing the total number of affected cars past the 4 million mark.

In late February, The CEO Magazine reported that after voluntary recalls there were still more than a million vehicles on Australian roads fitted with potentially deadly Takata airbags.

That number has since risen, with the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) adding models such as the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Koda Octavia, Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Golf, Holden Cruze and Toyota Yaris, to its ‘future recall’ list on Sunday.

“We know there will be a few further recalls in the coming month which we are just in the process of negotiating,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“So when people visit they should sign up for the free recall notifications and that way they will see whether their vehicle is added to the list.”

The Japanese firm’s safety accessories have been proven to be anything but, with 23 deaths (including one in Australia last year) and more than 200 injuries around the world being linked to the airbags.

Tests on Takata airbags conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2016, showed that out of the 245,000 tested, 660 were defective.

The extremely dangerous ‘Alpha’ model, however, was found to rupture in up to 50% of deployments.

When this happens, the exploding airbags shoot metal shrapnel towards the driver and passengers.

Shockingly, the ACCC has revealed there are approximately 25,000 Alpha bags sitting in active cars like ticking time bombs.

“The alpha airbags really are incredibly worrying, there was a fault in the manufacturing of some airbags in the early 2000s and there is a much greater chance that they will deploy and harm or kill people than the other airbags,” Rickards said.

“If you have an alpha bag what you need to do is stop driving it immediately, contact your manufacturer or dealer, arrange for them to come and tow it away, do not drive that bag.”

Rickards is imploring all Australians to visit the ACCC website to see if their vehicles are equipped with Takata bags, and to treat the situation as life and death.

“Please don’t be complacent,” Rickards said.

“This is a really serious recall, take it seriously, commit right now to check the website and take action this week.”

More than 100 million cars globally have been caught up in the biggest automotive recall in history.