Potentially dangerous airbags in twice as many NZ cars as first thought

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RNZ rnz.co.nz

The government has found defective Alpha-type Takata airbags in more than 100,000 New Zealand cars - twice as many as previously thought.

A further 257,000 cars with Takata airbags are also subject to recall but aren't as urgent as the first lot.

Source: 1 NEWS

The airbags have the potential to deploy with explosive force, and have killed 23 people overseas.

It's part of a wider voluntary Takata airbag recall, which affects around 600,000 cars in New Zealand.

A compulsory recall of the Alpha-type bags was launched in April, requiring suppliers to contact owners and replace the airbags by December 2019 or face a penalty.

The Motor Industry Association said car distributors and industry bodies had worked tirelessly to produce a stocktake of cars affected in the largest global airbag recall.

The association's David Crawford said a co-ordinated effort with the Transport Agency and Imported Vehicles Association had significantly improved the recall process.

"We're getting a tremendous amount of support from the New Zealand Transport Agency in order to identify the vehicles and in the co-ordinating and oversight groups," he said.

"That gets everyone around the table to keep a check on progress, address the issues and to try and find a resolution to any problems.

Source: Supplied/Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Mr Crawford said around 53,000 Alpha type airbags had now been replaced.

He said it was by far New Zealand's largest recall - the previous largest recall affected just 30,000 cars.

Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said while he was not happy that there were more vehicles with faulty airbags than initially thought, he was heartened that the industry had moved quickly to identify affected vehicles and get the highest-risk air bags replaced.

"We now know that there are a total of 103,000 of these Takata airbags. About half of those have been fixed."

"As at the end of May, there were 53,013 vehicles in New Zealand which still had the most dangerous Alpha airbags. That's 53,013 families and whānau travelling in cars with airbags which are at risk of exploding and sending fragments throughout the vehicle.

Since the recall was implemented at the end of May over 22,000 vehicles have been remedied.

"These Alpha airbags are now under compulsory recall, and we have also enacted measures that have stopped any more affected vehicles coming across our border. New and used vehicles affected by this compulsory recall also cannot now be sold by motor traders until they have been repaired."

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