Millions of cars to be recalled over deadly airbags

More than 2 million Australian cars are set to be hit by one the largest recalls in the country's history.

Key points:

  • Manufacturers including Toyota, Mazda, Honda and BMW are affected
  • Takata airbags' inflators have a defect that can cause them to explode
  • The airbags have caused more than 180 injuries worldwide

The Federal Government is today expected to announce the compulsory recall of cars affected by the defective Takata airbags.

The airbags have been associated with 20 deaths globally.

The faulty Takata airbags' inflators contain a defect that can cause them to explode and propel shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

The shards have been known to puncture people's eyes, face, neck and chest.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the announcement, which will be made later today, would focus on putting "the safety of Australians first and foremost at all times".

Consumer watchdog Choice's spokesman Tom Godfrey said the airbags were dangerous because they degraded over time and could explode.

"The ammonium nitrate in them essentially dissolves the metal cylinder that encases the airbag and then when the airbag deploys it fires shrapnel at you and your family," he said.

Mr Godfrey said there have been many deaths around the world and more injuries.

The airbags are in 60 types of cars sold in Australia, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

They include various models of Toyota, Mazda, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and several others.

About 2.3 million vehicles will be subject to the compulsory recall and the airbags must be replaced within two years.

Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister Tim Hammond says Labor welcomes the recall, but argues the Government has taken too long to take steps to protect motorists.

"It is an indictment, quite frankly, on this government that they have taken so long to pull the trigger on a compulsory recall," he said.

"There is a provision of the Competition and Consumer Act that allows the responsible minister to pull the trigger on a compulsory recall if an imminent safety threat arises."

About 2.7 million vehicles have already been subject to a voluntary recall, of which 1.7 million have had their defective airbags replaced.

More than 180 injuries have been recorded worldwide, prompting the recall of 100 million vehicles globally.

External Link: An airbag inflator exploding in a test lab

Original Article

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