2nd March, 2018 · Consumer Affairs Policy

Australian Consumer Law

Issue

On 27 February 2018, the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar MP issued a compulsory recall notice for vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags. This notice is less stringent than the draft recall notice issued in September 2017 but still places significant requirements on manufacturers and by extension new car dealers.

The compulsory recall prioritises the replacement of the higher risk alpha airbags and requires all defective Takata airbags to be replaced by 31 December 2020. The compulsory recall captures some 2.3 million vehicles, including over 1.3 million vehicles which were not subject to the previous voluntary recall.

Background

Dealers are at the coalface of vehicle recalls and are responsible for dealing with affected owners and carrying out the rectification work as soon as possible. Dealers are urged to work diligently with OEMs to meet the requirements of the recall but the global scale of the Takata airbag recall presents significant challenges such as logistical difficulties in securing supply of replacement parts, contacting the owners of affected vehicles, and scheduling of workshop facilities.

The proposed compulsory recall notice specifies a timetable for rectification based on the safety risk of particular airbags. The recall notice can be viewed here.

Affected brands named in the Assistant Minister’s media release were Ford, GM Holden, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda. This is in addition to existing voluntary recalls by BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Hino Trucks.

Key Points

  • The global scale of the Takata airbag recall presents significant challenges for the Government, OEMs and dealers in ensuring consumer safety and rectifying affected vehicles.
  • Dealers will work with the Government and OEMs to meet any requirements placed on them by the compulsory recall.
  • It is important to understand that as it currently operates, the Product Safety web page reflects advice provided to the ACCC by manufacturers regarding the recall and this page may not represent a comprehensive list of all affected vehicle makes and models. Dealers are advised therefore to contact their franchisors to determine what makes and models are affected and what advice they should be giving to consumers.

Status

A compulsory recall notice was issued on 27 February 2018 and dealers are urged to work with manufacturers to meet the recall and replacement timetable.