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Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki recall 18,000 vehicles fitted with Takata airbags

Ben Butler
Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki have recalled about 18,000 vehicles as part of a continuing effort by authorities to get tens of thousands of cars fitted with potentially deadly Takata airbags off Australian roads.

A similar recall of about 17,000 vehicles made by Audi, BMW and Ford with Takata NADI 5-AT airbags has been under way since November, and the consumer watchdog said Honda and Mitsubishi would also recall vehicles “very soon”.

The recalls are on top of a separate program dealing with a different model of Takata airbag, the alpha, which was also defective. About 85% of the 3.5m alpha bags on Australian roads, which were fitted to newer vehicles than the NADI 5-AT, had been replaced as of early December.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said about 78,000 vehicles made in the mid to late 1990s were fitted with NADI 5-AT airbags, which in an accident can spray the cabin with metal fragments.

“The airbags have also, in some instances, not fully inflated in a crash, thereby failing to protect drivers as expected,” the ACCC acting chair, Stephen Ridgeway, said.

He said four incidents involving the airbags had been reported in Australia, resulting in two deaths and two serious injuries.

He said many vehicles fitted with the airbags were likely to still be on the road.

“Drivers must take these warnings seriously,” he said. “These airbags pose a serious safety risk that could lead to deaths or serious injuries. Please do not put lives at risk, and consider other transport options if your vehicle is affected.”

Models recalled include the Ford Courier, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Pajero and Toyota RAV4.

Mazda, Suzuki and Toyota are offering to buy the vehicles back, and Toyota is also offering to provide a rental car until the airbag can be replaced.