Australian minister issues compulsory airbag recall for 2 in 7 vehicles

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The federal government has declared it will oblige the recall of 2.3 million cars as it seeks to protect Australian drivers from the risks of exploding airbags.

Mitsubishi Australia has called for owners of its cars fitted with faulty Takata airbag inflators to have their vehicles fixed.

Cars on the compulsory recall list include various models that have already been subject to a voluntary recall - Toyota, Mazda, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and several others - but also apply to models from other manufacturers that had previously not been identified.

About 2.7 million vehicles have been recalled voluntarily, and 1.7 million had their airbags replaced.

"We put the safety of Australians first and foremost at all times", the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, told reporters.

"The compulsory recall will force manufacturers, dealers, importers and other suppliers to ensure that all risky Takata airbags are located and replaced as quickly as possible", Mr Sukkar said. He said about 27,000 of these Alpha airbags were still to be replaced, and warned owners not to drive the cars that contained them.

Approximately 860,000 vehicles in Australia with defective Takata airbags were not under voluntary recall.

The government's advice for those whose vehicles have been recalled is to contact their local dealer or manufacturer to book in a time to replace the airbag. Of note, too, is that there are more recalls to come as Takata airbags reach the age where they too start showing symptoms that they are at risk of failing.

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Under the compulsory recall, a vehicle's supplier is the first person to supply a vehicle with a defective Takata airbag into Australia. "Vehicles fitted with defective Takata airbags have caused injuries and fatalities".

"But for those airbags we're saying to people don't drive the auto again, just contact the manufacturer, they are obliged to come out and fix it".

Wednesday's announcement followed an investigation by Australia's consumer watchdog, the Treasury said.

In the biggest bankruptcy of a Japanese manufacturer, Takata sought court protection from creditors in June as costs and liabilities mounted from nearly a decade of recalls and lawsuits.

But about 450,000 airbags were replaced with a like-for-like airbag that need to be removed.

A statement released by the FCAI on Tuesday maintained that voluntary recalls are an "effective mechanism" for dealing with a complex issue, and that "the safety of the motoring public is of the utmost priority to the FCAI and the industry".

Under the compulsory recall order, the government will be able to name manufacturers who are falling behind from July.

Under the settlement, Takata will continue its recall, and along with the automakers will pay for replacement air bags.