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Australia’s compulsory Takata recall: What happens next?

By David Bonnici, 28 Feb 2018 News

Australias compulsory Takata recall What happens next

How to check if your car is affected, and what you and your vehicle supplier need to do if it is

MORE than 2.7 million cars in Australia with Takata airbags are now subject to a compulsory recall, with manufacturers and distributors obliged to replace all defective airbags by December 31, 2020.

If your vehicle has not previously been subject to the recall, check again at the Product Safety Australia website, or with your car’s manufacturer, as 1.3 million of the affected vehicles have just been added to the list. And if your car still isn’t affected, try again every few weeks. You can even subscribe to Product Safety Australia email updates that can be tailored to your make of vehicle.


Note your vehicle identification number (VIN), as you’ll need this to determine if your individual car is affected when checking with the manufacturer. The VIN is a 17-character serial number with letters and numbers that can be found either under the bonnet in front of the engine, inside the base of the windscreen on the dashboard, or in the driver’s door jam. The VIN is also recorded on you vehicle’s registration certificate and insurance documents.

If you find that your vehicle is under active recall, contact the supplier to arrange replacement of the affected Takata airbags.  The timing of the fix will depend on a number of factors, including the type of airbag, where you are (high heat and humidity can accelerate the problems), and how old it is.

The compulsory recall and associated consumer rights and supplier obligations are the same for new and previously owned vehicles, and are not associated with their factory warranties.


SUPPLIER OBLIGATIONS

The compulsory recall requires all suppliers to:

  • Recall all affected vehicles on a rolling basis and replace the airbag at no cost to the owner, with priority given to replacement of those airbags that present the highest safety risk. Recalls must be initiated as soon as possible.
  • Complete all replacements by December 31, 2020, unless the date is varied by application to the ACCC.
  • Contact consumers directly when recall action is initiated for their vehicle
  • Publish a VIN search tool on their website by July 1, 2018 that allows consumers to identify if their individual vehicle is affected by the recall.
  • Publish a recall initiation schedule on their website as soon as practicable and by July 1, 2018. The schedule will advise owners with an affected vehicle when their vehicle will be recalled. Vehicles under ‘active recall’ can have their affected Takata airbags replaced straight away. Consumers with vehicles subject to a ‘future recall’ will be notified by the supplier when it is time to have their airbag replaced (and they can also find their vehicle in the supplier’s recall initiation schedule).
  • Notify the ACCC via the Product Safety Website when an active recall is initiated for a new category of vehicle.
  • Make arrangements for towing or transporting a vehicle or providing loan or hire cars during the replacement process in certain circumstances.  

COMPULSORY RECALL TIMELINE

March 8, 2018: Vehicle suppliers must initiate a recall of vehicles with dangerous Alpha inflators by this date, if they’re not already under active recall.

April 2, 2018: Vehicle suppliers must provide the ACCC with a recall initiation schedule (unless you have already initiated recall action for all affected vehicles).

July 1, 2018: Vehicle manufacturers must publish a VIN search tool on their website by July 1, 2018 that allows consumers to identify individual vehicles affected by the recall. They must also publish a recall schedule on their websites, which informs owners when certain vehicles will be recalled.

December 31, 2018: Stop selling new or demonstration vehicles with an affected Takata airbag inflator in any circumstances.

December 31, 2019: Cease use of new affected Takata Airbag Inflators as replacements ('like for like' replacements).

December 31, 2020: Complete all replacements of affected Takata airbag Inflators, unless otherwise approved by the ACCC.

Ongoing: Manufacturers have an ongoing obligation to identify and replace vehicles with affected Takata airbag Inflators.