Takata airbag recall to hit thousands of Aussie cars
CAR owners across Australia are anxiously seeking information as faulty airbags are to blame for what will be the world's largest ever automotive recall.
Nearly 34 million vehicles are to be recalled in the US alone for faulty air bag inflators, with the global figure expected to be well over 50 million.
Exactly how many Australian cars will be recalled is currently unclear, with the government's information website recalls.gov.au being down for most of the morning as concerned motorists flood the site.
Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata has acknowledged a defect exists in its air bag deflators and ruptures have been blamed for six deaths worldwide.
Numerous car brands are affected, including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but the complete list of models and years involved in the recall may not be known for some time.
The news follows Toyota Australia's announcement last week that it was recalling approximately 181,000 vehicles built between 2003 and 2007 equipped with Takata airbag inflators.
Models affected include Corolla, Yaris, Avensis Verso, Echo and RAV4.
Toyota Australia said that there was the potential for airbag inflators to be susceptible to moisture intrusion over time, potentially making the inflator assembly prone to rupture during an accident and increasing the risk of injury.
RACQ Technical and Safety Policy technical researcher Russell Manning has advised Australian owners not to panic in light of the latest recall news.
"While six deaths and around 100 injuries have been linked to the airbag fault in America, we're not aware of any issues in Australia at this time," he said.
"I'd advise concerned motorists to visit the government recalls website when it's back up, and whatever you do, don't disconnect your airbags."
Mr Manning said his team had been watching the story unfold for about the last 12 months, explaining that this airbag issue had been a long-term thing.
"We've got about half a million vehicles being recalled in Australia so far on this issue, including Honda who started recalling cars in 2009," he said.
"It's very early days to say where it goes from here however, and even local car manufacturers aren't really sure which models in their range will be affected.
"I'm guessing it will be the biggest automotive recall in history, and one of the biggest recalls in any industry: it will take a very long time to get a resolution to this."
For the latest government recall information, visit recalls.gov.au