Takata airbag scandal: Class action filed against three vehicle manufacturers

Choice says five carmakers have been refitting recalled cars with dodgy Takata airbags

More than 100 million cars have been recalled in the United States since it emerged in 2007 that the Japanese auto parts maker's airbags were inflating with too much force spraying shrapnel on crash victims; 18 deaths have been linked to the scandal.

Five auto manufacturers have admitted switching airbags for identical devices in Australia as a temporary solution.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that Takata tests showed the inflator propellant can degrade and will pose a safety risk if the inflators aren't replaced.

Citing a report by consumer group Choice, Mr Sims said some vehicles' airbags were being replaced with ones that may in turn need to be replaced again in six years' time because they were treated with a water-absorbing chemical created to address the original problem that can also degrade over time.

"This action provided safety for a number of years, however due to exposure to the environment over time, these airbags will need to be replaced again", she said.

M - Ford is pushing back on a potential new recall of more than two million vehicles equipped with a different type of airbag inflator from those already part of the massive Takata recall, saying the danger has not been clearly established.

Only 850,000 of the 2.3 million Australian cars subject to the original recall issued in 2009 have had their Takata airbags replaced, and it's since been revealed some of them have been fitted with the same dodgy airbags involved in the initial recall.

Over 100 million vehicles, 70 million the U.S. alone, fitted with Takata airbags have been recalled since 2004, when reports of an issue first arose.

Potentially deadly airbags could be behind the biggest auto recall in history with Australian drivers urged to check whether they are driving a faulty vehicle. Some carmakers have asked customers to wait six months to have their airbags replaced due to shortages. An Australian motorist was killed after being hit in the neck by shrapnel from the airbag of his 2007 Honda CR-V.




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While some airbag inflators are being replaced with newly designed parts equipped with desiccant created to absorb moisture, others have been replaced with flawed parts that will eventually pose a danger to occupants.

Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA and Japan, and has agreed to be largely acquired for $1.6 billion by the Chinese-owned, US -based Key Safety Systems.

But those cars may also need attention in the future.

The airbag's fault involves the ammonium nitrate used to trigger the inflation. The company says it will file a petition with NHTSA to further study its inflators.

Many other manufacturers had not responded to questions, it added.

If auto owners have concerns, they should contact their local dealership or the manufacturer of the vehicle.

"However, refitting vehicles with the same unsafe airbags still leaves people driving ticking time-bombs", Choice spokesperson Tom Godfrey says.

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