Local Japanese brands have been caught up in a global recall of up to 3.4 million vehicles because of faulty airbags from Japanese component-maker Takata Corporation, the world’s second-largest supplier of airbags and seatbelts.
Globally, Japanese car manufacturing giants Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda are most affected, but also GM, BMW and others are known to have some exposure.
The issue triggering the recall is the discovery that the airbags are at risk of catching fire or deploying incorrectly in a crash due to “malfunctioning inflators”, potentially injuring passengers.
The affected airbags were supplied between the years 2000 and 2002 (but also affect some 2003 models).
The exact number of cars on the Australian market affected by the recall is not precisely known - just yet - but is expected to number somewhere between 10,000-20,000 vehicles. (Local importers are making an examination of sales and batch numbers to identify all affected vehicles.)
Melissa Cross, Public Relations Manager for Honda Australia told TMR that there are 9,980 affected Honda vehicles in Australia, these being Civic models from 2001-2003, CR-V from 2002-2003, and 2003 Jazz models.
“Customers will be advised in writing if their vehicle is affected,” she said.
Less-affected is Mazda Australia where only 468 first generation Mazda6s built in 2002 and 2003 will be recalled. “No other Mazda vehicles are affected,” a statement from the company said.
Mazda Australia will also be contacting owners of affected vehicles to make arrangements to have the recall work completed.
Nissan Australia is currently establishing the numbers of vehicles here affected by the recall – expected to be limited to “certain 2000-2004 Nissan vehicles”.
Worldwide, the recall affects approximately 480,000 Nissan vehicles. “The total number and various models of Nissan vehicles in Australia that are potentially affected by this recall is still being established,” Nissan Australia’s Peter Fadeyev said.
Like other carmakers. Nissan plans to replace the front passenger airbag inflator in affected vehicles at no cost to customers.
Toyota is recalling 1.73 million vehicles globally, Honda around 1.14 million units, Nissan around 480,000 vehicles and Mazda has recalled 45,463 cars.
“The involved vehicles are equipped with front-passenger airbag inflators which could have been assembled with improperly manufactured propellant wafers,” Toyota said.
Apparently, a manufacturing defect in the propellant can cause the front passenger seat airbag to inflate incorrectly, resulting in a risk of fire or of passengers being injured by metal fragments ejected onto the windshield, or into the footwell.
With five (yes “five”) reported incidents worldwide, and no reported injuries, it is certainly not cause for global panic.
However, the mere fact of this recall – and the huge numbers of cars, makes and models affected – highlights the risks to a global industry that, desperate to cut costs, is increasingly reliant on a shrinking pool of giant component suppliers.
If any more news comes to light, we'll add the information to this post.
UPDATE: Nissan Australia's Peter Fadeyev has released a statement confirming that the total number of Nissan vehicles in Australia potentially affected by this recall is 11,360. The Nissan models potentially affected under this recall are T30 X-TRAIL, D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol and N16 Pulsar.
TMR Managing Editor