Car manufacturers complete 99.9 per cent of Takata airbag recall

Car dashboard

Car manufacturers have successfully recalled 99.9 per cent of the more than 3 million vehicles affected by deadly Takata airbags which are subject to a compulsory recall.

This is an ACCC media release, originally published on the 5th March, 2021.

“We’re pleased to have such a high completion rate in what has been the biggest vehicle recall in Australian history,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Over 3 million vehicles were originally affected and to have it just shy of 100 per cent complete makes this a great success in terms of numbers compared with other recalls. However, there are still some vehicles in the community that may still have deadly airbags.”

In particular, around 312,000 vehicles have been deemed to be compliant with the recall although they have not had their airbags replaced. This category covers vehicles which have been scrapped, stolen or unregistered for more than two years, or where consumers did not respond or were not contactable after repeated contacts through different channels.

Globally, these Takata airbags have been associated with over 350 serious injuries and 33 deaths. This includes one death in Sydney in July 2017 and one serious injury in Darwin in April 2017. Two injuries were also reported following an accident in Sydney in August 2020.

“If you have an affected vehicle and have not yet had your airbag replaced, please contact your vehicle manufacturer urgently to arrange for a free replacement,” Ms Rickard said.

“It is important we continue to work together to get the small number of dangerous vehicles that are identifiable off our roads.”

State and territory registration sanctions apply to vehicles that have not had their faulty airbags replaced. The ACCC is also working with state and territory registration authorities to ensure deregistered vehicles are not re-registered without confirmation that the airbag has been replaced.

Consumers can visit, the Product Safety Australia page, or contact their manufacturer to check if their vehicle is affected. A list of vehicle manufacturer helplines and contact details is available online. 

Facts and figures

  • In total, 4.1 million airbags (99.9 per cent) in 3.06 million vehicles have been rectified or deemed complete under the recall notice.
  • This includes the 312,000 vehicles that have been deemed as unregistered for more than two consecutive years (94,927), written-off or stolen (118,020) or where the owner was unable to be contacted (40,741) or did not respond to recall notifications (58,198).
  • The ACCC expects to be at 100 per cent completion (including deemed compliant vehicles) within 2-3 months following assessment of a small number of applications, relating to less than 2000 vehicles, for deemed compliance.

Notes to editors

  • The Takata airbag recall is the world’s largest automotive recall, affecting an estimated 100 million vehicles globally.
  • It is the most significant recall in Australia’s history, with over four million affected Takata airbag inflators and involving more than three million vehicle recalls.
  • Takata airbags affected by the compulsory recall use a chemical called phase-stabilised ammonium nitrate (PSAN). The ACCC’s investigation concluded that certain types of Takata PSAN airbags have a design defect. The defect may cause the airbag to deploy with too much explosive force so that sharp metal fragments shoot out and hit vehicle occupants, potentially injuring or killing them.
  • Vehicle manufacturers were required to account for 100 per cent of affected vehicles by 31 December 2020, unless the ACCC has agreed to an extension.
  • Manufacturers have ongoing obligations to replace outstanding inflators where they have not achieved 100 per cent actual replacement. Manufacturers must also retrieve spare parts when notified. This obligation extends beyond 31 December 2020 until 100 per cent actual completion is achieved.   
  • Around 100,000 (31 per cent) of vehicles deemed compliant are due to unresponsive or uncontactable vehicle owners. Many of these are no longer on the roads and those that are will be captured by state and territory registration sanctions programs.
  • In addition to the compulsory recall of vehicles fitted with Takata PSAN airbags, eight vehicle manufacturers have also issued voluntary recalls for some vehicles manufactured between 1996 and 2000, which may have been fitted with a different type of faulty Takata airbag, being a NADI airbag. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications monitors the NADI voluntary recalls.

Source: ACCC. Release number: 18/21ACCC.