Takata airbag recall on track

  • Hon Kris Faafoi
Commerce and Consumer Affairs

New numbers show the Takata airbag compulsory recall in New Zealand has now seen 38,238 Alpha airbags replaced and 208,902 non-Alphas replaced – 45 percent of all Alpha airbags and 42 percent of non-Alphas.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hon Kris Faafoi says the commitment of the car industry as a whole to make progress has been outstanding. He is today meeting with manufacturers’ representatives, the VIA (representing used car dealers) and the Motor Industry Association (MIA), representing new car dealers.

“The industry has in large part got us to where we are today – when we have asked for co-operation and support, they have put in the time and commitment to get us this far. I am pleased that we now have 146,000 fewer vehicles with airbags that may malfunction.

“We have also, thanks to the co-operation of car marques across the sector, been able to get robust numbers in place so we know what we are dealing with. MIA, with information provided by every one of the car marques with affected vehicles, now has stable numbers for the Alpha recall.

“While this means our figures for vehicles affected are now reporting higher, I am reassured that we now have both stable reporting and indicators of good progress.”

Total Alpha airbags affected by the compulsory recall are now reported at 86,014, with 38,238 completed. Non-Alpha airbags known to be affected by a manufacturers recall now total 500,949, with 208,902 completed. Factors including car marques completing internal audits with their parent companies of affected vehicles and work to get robust systems in place between government and industry have meant there have been increases in some numbers – primarily the numbers affected as more come to light.

“In order to address the issue and get these airbags fixed we first need to know about them,” Mr Faafoi says, “so having the compulsory recall in place and getting a clear picture enables us to ensure we get the progress we need and that we don’t see the kind of tragedy seen in other countries where airbags have exploded and sent fragments into vehicles.

“While the risk of malfunction is highest in Alpha airbags – which we are prioritising in a compulsory recall – I am heartened to see that progress is being made on all airbags and I would like to thank everyone involved across the industry and Government who has helped us so far.”

Mr Faafoi says the numbers indicate the sector has the capacity to repair the Alpha airbags in order to meet the timeline for the compulsory recall – December 2019.

“We know that this both requires car marques, who in most cases haven’t had any part in bringing these vehicles into New Zealand, to absorb the cost of the replacement airbag and the time in workshops repairing them – so we are particularly grateful for their support and commitment to keeping New Zealanders safe.

“Of course we also need the public to act to ensure their vehicles are repaired if necessary. The majority of affected vehicles are older, as the Alpha types were an earlier model of Takata airbags more likely to have been used in vehicles manufactured in the late 1990s to the early to mid-2000s.

“If you receive a letter from your car’s distributor, please act on it and call to make arrangements for your airbag replacement. If you have concerns your car could be affected, also contact your distributor who can check for you. Regardless of whether you bought your vehicle brand new or second hand, from a dealer or privately, you are entitled to receive a replacement airbag free of charge.

The RightCar website now has all Alpha airbags known to be affected by the recall in its searchable database.

To check if your vehicle is affected, go to www.rightcar.govt.nz