Takata recall ending with new enforcement approach
96 per cent of New Zealand-new vehicles with Takata Alpha airbags have been replaced, moving the compulsory recall into the final stage to capture the remaining airbags, says Commerce and Consumer Minister Kris Faafoi.
In the 20 months since the Takata airbag compulsory recall began, 85 per cent of new and used imported vehicle airbags have been repaired, with the remaining owners being encouraged to get their free repair now.
“I’m pleased with the progress of this recall, which has involved key brands in the motor vehicle industry, government agencies and consumer bodies. I am keen, however, to get a ‘final push’ in the next few weeks to get all remaining affected vehicles repaired. At the end of this year the recall technically ends and becomes the ongoing jurisdiction of the NZ Transport Agency,” Minister Kris Faafoi said.
From 2020, all identified vehicles that haven’t had their airbags replaced will be flagged by the Transport Agency and this will prevent the vehicle from getting a new Warrant of Fitness (WoF), as the vehicle will be considered un-roadworthy until the repairs are made.
Approximately 94 per cent of the remaining 12,000 airbags yet to be repaired are in used imported cars that entered New Zealand from 2004.
“So it’s the owners of these vehicles who I’d particularly like to take notice, make contact with the relevant brand owner, and get their car booked in for a repair.
“While some of these vehicles may be picked up through a WoF check, recall experience shows many may be parked up, or their owners may not respond for extended periods of time. So the message here is that it’s safer, in the long run, or before a vehicle is on-sold, to get a replacement now before a WoF check next year renders it un-roadworthy,” Minister Faafoi said.
The Minister enacted the compulsory recall in April 2018 as part of a global initiative to replace the airbags, which have caused injuries and fatalities overseas due to faulty deployment.
“Every vehicle owner in New Zealand which has an Alpha Takata airbag has now been contacted at least once by their respective car brand and the Transport Agency, advising them to get a free replacement and how they can do this. It is now up to the remaining owners to also do this to ensure their safety.
“We’re very fortunate in New Zealand that there haven’t been any incidents with the Alpha airbags, but to ensure we remain incident-free, I am strongly reminding these vehicle owners to replace their airbags now. If owners are unsure they can always check the recall’s dedicated Rightcar website to confirm if they need the repair,” Mr Faafoi said.
The compulsory recall, which has identified nearly 82,300 Takata Alpha airbags for repair, is a joint government and motor industry project.
Repairs to these airbags have been managed by the six motor vehicle brands which had the airbags originally fitted in their vehicles.