Toyota is going to great lengths to ensure consumers are protected from faulty Takata airbags which can fire metal shrapnel into the cabin and cause serious injury or even death. It is one of many brands caught up in the saga, with one of the largest number of vehicles affected.
Toyota is currently contacting wreckers around the country to ensure steering wheels fitted with faulty Takata airbags are disposed of correctly and not on-sold to repairers or consumers.
"We are doing everything possible to rectify this situation, even up to the point where we are contacting wreckers around Australia. This is what we are doing," said Toyota Australia executive Sean Hanley.
"I know the industry in general is doing a great job under very difficult circumstances. And we are putting our guests' safety at the forefront from every aspect."
While brands such as Honda have replaced a high percentage of the deadly airbags, Toyota has been lagging behind, although Hanley says it has replaced up to 80 per cent of the critical Alpha-spec airbags and has improved its overall clearance rate to above 50 percent in recent months.
However, the situation has been put on the boil following a proposal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to rollout a mandatory recall. It would take the tally to above 3 million cars locally and Hanley encouraged all owners of affected vehicles to understand whether their vehicle needs an airbag replacement, and, if so, do get it done swiftly.
"I think we’re all working closely together to do the best we can to get through a very trying situation," he said.
"The government is doing the right thing, the car companies are doing the right thing… anything that brings more attention to encourage people to check and encourage those with notifications to get their car fixed, we see as a good thing.
"It’s all about consumer safety."
In response to the ACCC proposal, Tony Weber, chief of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries - the body that represents the automotive industry - slammed the ACCC for proposing a mandatory recall without consulting the industry first and gathering a full understanding of the situation at hand.
Weber said, “It’s unfortunate that this work was not done before that draft document was put out.
“We had the notice out there in the public domain before we had the meeting. That’s the cart before the horse. It’s just absurd.
“Complex issues need thorough investigation rather than the broad brush that came out when the ACCC’s document came out,” he said.
All manufacturers under recall for potentially faulty Takata airbags have established standalone customer service hotlines and/or websites where customers can check if their vehicle is affected.
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