SOME of the fastest cars on sale in Australia have been scooped up in the widening Takata scandal, with the recall overnight adding another 1.1 million cars to the official fix list.
The Ferrari 488 GTB and Spider, which can both dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 3.0 seconds, have joined an expanding list of cars needing replacement airbags – a list that also includes every single model in rival supercar brand McLaren’s showroom.
The growing list of recalled vehicles adds airbags to the list that are safe for the moment, but are under a future safety cloud as the propellant used in them ages and reduces the airbags’ effectiveness in a crash.
The big bump in numbers also scoops up significantly more carmakers and models – mostly from brands that argued against taking part in the now compulsory recall. More than 555,000 wear a Toyota badge, and the number of cars recalled here now increases to around five million – the equivalent of one in every four of the 19 million vehicles on our roads.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website now also lists dates that the carmakers will start rolling out recall programs, details of which airbags need replacing, and also details of whether the replacement airbag being installed will need to be replaced again in the future. All Takata airbags must be replaced with non-defective units by 2021.
The recalls will be staggered according to geographic regions, with cars located in areas with high heat and humidity given priority over those in more temperate climates, and driver’s airbags given priority over passenger ones.
Brands including Audi, Citroen, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Holden, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Skoda, Toyota and Volkswagen are now included in the recall that has formerly scooped up the likes of BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla.
The recall also covers a number of new cars on sale this year, including the Ferrari 488 GTB, 488 Spider, California T, F12 Berlinetta, F12 tdf and GTC4 Lusso; the Holden Barina, Cruze and Trax; what appears to be McLaren’s entire showroom; and everything in Skoda’s showroom apart from the all-new Karoq.
Carmakers are picking up the cost of the recall. Holden has estimated the more than 300,000 cars it will need to fix as part of the Takata scandal will cost it up to $53 million, with only a portion of that being charged back to GM’s global divisions that built the vehicles – namely the now French-owned Opel, and GM Korea.
However, not everything appears to be going smoothly, with one industry insider telling Wheels the antiquated recall system was in need of a radical overhaul to bring it into the modern era. “The recall legislation calls for manufacturers to contact people via a mailing address, but that’s getting us the lowest response rate,” the source said. “The two methods of contact that are showing the most success are mobile phone numbers and then emails, but we often don’t have access to these details.”
The industry’s concerns also fly in the face of information provided by Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who said owners would be notified by email, phone or text message when a vehicle’s airbag would need replacing.
Also of concern are second-tier governments unwilling to help carmakers contact owners, the source said. The industry is believed to be lobbying for access to up-to-date contact information contained in state- and territory-level vehicle registration details, with some departments willing to help, but others baulking at putting voters offside.
The Takata scandal is already responsible for 23 deaths worldwide, and 230 injuries. In Australia, the fault has been linked to one death and a single serious injury. More than 100 million vehicles are believed to be affected globally.
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