Car News

Honda’s Takata airbag recall push in Australia

Honda Australia is calling on owners of vehicles subject to an airbag inflator recall not to ignore recall letters they receive.

HONDA AUSTRALIA has called on owners of more than 145,000 Honda’s, which are subject of the Takata airbag recall, to heed its recall letters and contact Honda Australia to arrange for the old airbag inflator to be replaced with a new, non-Takata product. The call-out comes just days after a Cabramatta (NSW) man was fatally wounded after being struck in the neck with shrapnel when the airbag in his CR-V deployed (it’s suspected the airbag inflator exploded). Honda Australia confirmed yesterday that it had contacted the owner five times in the last 16 months to have the airbag inflator replaced in his vehicle.

At a press conference in Canberra yesterday for the launch of the fifth-generation Honda CR-V, Honda boss Stephen Collins expressed his and Honda Australia’s deepest sympathies and condolences to the victim’s family. The death of the Cabramatta man last week is the first incident of an airbag in a Honda vehicle exploding in Australia, although there have been several similar cases in other countries.

To date, Honda Australia has recalled 650,379 vehicles with faulty airbag inflators produced by Japanese company, Takata. The recall of the faulty airbag inflators and propellant which, in the event of a collision could deploy improperly shooting metal fragments into vehicle occupants, was announced in April 2013 and affects more than six automotive brands around the world, including Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Tesla, Volkswagen, Saab, Land Rover, Jeep, Infiniti, Ford, Ferrari, Audi and BMW and many smaller derivative brands. However, Honda has the most number of affected cars, which runs to more than 11 million cars worldwide.

Over the years, Takata, which this year filed for bankruptcy has claimed all manner of reasons for the inflator faults, from chewing gum dropping into an inflator, to rust, bad welds, humid weather and more which caused the inflators to burst open due to the increased pressure inside them.

In Australia, Honda has fixed faulty airbag inflators on 456,136 or 70% of the total cars it has recalled. Honda Australia said its dealers could fix around 5000 cars per week and push to 10,000 cars if the volume demanded. “We want to get those cars into our dealerships and get them repaired,” Honda Australia boss, Stephen Collins said. The replacement of the faulty airbag inflator takes around 30-50 minutes and is free of charge.

To handle the recall, Honda Australia has employed 25 call centre operators and has issued more than one million communications to owners; and is working to track down owners of vehicles that might be two and three owners old. Honda said it is not using Takata airbag inflators as replacement parts, sourcing components from a new airbag inflator supplier.

To see if your vehicle is affected by the Takata airbag recall, click on this link to the Product Safety Australia website.

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2 Comments

  1. Guest
    July 26, 2017 at 7:06 am — Reply

    Why is this even news?? The airbag recall has been on for years and coz a person ignored it means there’s something wrong with the recall system and not the recall itself.

    • July 26, 2017 at 8:03 am — Reply

      Thanks Guest, but by all accounts Honda’s handling of the recall is pretty robust and its 70% fix rate is way above the other makes who also need to fix faulty inflators; the industry average in Australia for the recall of the faulty airbag inflators is only 36%. Why is this news? Because someone tragically lost their life and because Honda wants to remind its customers but also customers of other vehicles affected by this recall that they need to take the communications they receive seriously. In most cases, the recall letters are sent to owners via registered mail as a sign of how serious the issue is. Here at Practical Motoring we’d advise everyone to check if their vehicle is on the recall list and have the faulty airbag inflator replaced immediately. – Isaac

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober