Faulty Takata airbags in major NZ recall

No more than 60,000 NZ cars have had the parts fixed (File)
No more than 60,000 NZ cars have had the parts fixed (File)

The Motor Industry Association (MIA) is urging motorists to take heed of a recall affecting the airbag systems in 300,000 cars across New Zealand.

The faulty systems, made by Japanese company Takata, have the potential to fire shrapnel when engaged in an accident, or not inflate at all. They've been linked to deaths overseas.

A spokesperson for the company in Tokyo told Newshub: Takata's number one priority is the safety of the traveling public. We urge consumers to contact their dealers immediately if they discover their vehicle is subject to a recall.

The issue is in both New Zealand new cars and also Japanese imports dating back up to 13 years.

Due to this, a number of makes and models are caught up in the recall and different manufacturers will be replacing parts at their own rate.

"The problem with this is that Takata can't make the airbag inflators fast enough because it is such a large volume. So the different distributors have a different way of managing it and because this is a low-risk situation, some will receive a letter at some stage from their distributor when they have the part, to then say come and bring it in," Mr Crawford says. 

MIA chief executive, David Crawford, says there is no immediate cause for alarm, as no New Zealand or Australian cars have been linked to the problem to date, but motorists should be aware.

"I'd like to stress that the vehicles are safe to drive, but because we can't rule out the risk altogether, we want them replaced. So people should bring them in and have them replaced when they get a letter.

"But, the manufacturers have said, because we can't tell which ones are faulty, Takata needs to replace them."

Mr Crawford says 200 vehicles of the 60 million potentially affected worldwide, have had an issue.

This means the best advice to motorists is to check the MIA's website or recalls.govt.nz if drivers are in doubt.


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