Ford says it will fight latest Takata air bag inflator recall

25 July, 2017, 12:14 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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In the U.S., the faulty airbags have been linked to at least 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries.

Australian auto companies are facing a class action over the defective airbags involved in a global recall. When the airbag is deployed, it can explode and launch metal shards which have penetrated people's eyes, face, neck, and chest.

These waterproofed replacements are estimated to have a lifespan of around six years before they start degrading in a similar way, meaning that numerous airbags replaced in the first wave of recalls are now faulty, and will need to be replaced yet again.

Toyota said the replacements would be safe for several years because faults only emerged as the airbags aged.

Choice's investigation, which only looked at the Australia market, discovered that about 70% of the 2.1 million cars recalled in Australia had not yet been refitted.

Only 850,000 of the cars subject to the original recall issued in 2009 have had their Takata airbags replaced, but it's since been revealed some of them have been fitted with the same dodgy airbags involved in the initial recall.

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Over 100 million vehicles, 70 million the USA alone, fitted with Takata airbags have been recalled since 2004, when reports of an issue first arose.

The consumer group warned vehicle manufacturers left people "driving ticking time-bombs" but Toyota, which is among the five companies involved, insisted the replacements will be safe for years, given the original problem only manifested among ageing airbags.

"Toyota has a rectification process in place for impacted customers".

Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA and Japan, and has agreed to be largely acquired for $1.6 billion by the Chinese-owned, US -based Key Safety Systems.

Nissan agreed to recall about 515,000 Versa cars, but Ford and Mazda filed petitions to avoid a recall.

"If consumers have already had their airbag replaced, they should contact their manufacturer for advice as to what kind of airbag it was replaced with and how long it is expected to last".

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But those cars may also need attention in the future.

The ammonium nitrate that Takata has used for its inflaters have at times become unstable due to moisture or temperature fluctuations. Ford has told the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will fight the recall, because, the company says, the airbag inflaters it uses have a chemical that it claims has been effective against the too-violent inflater ruptures.

"Car manufacturers and retailers must let consumers know, when they are having their car's air bag replaced, what type of air bag it is being replaced with and if it's likely to be the subject of another recall down the track", the commission's chairman Rod Sims said.

Many other manufacturers had not responded to questions, it added.

"Refitting vehicles with the same risky airbags still leaves people driving ticking time bombs", said Tom Godfrey from CHOICE.

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