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Honda races to fix Takata airbag faults

Honda Australia is working around the clock to replace 600,000 potentially faulty airbags with the company’s boss personally writing to local Honda owners in a bid to ensure all are safely fixed.

The 600,000 airbags equates to 425,000 vehicles which Honda has recalled after it was found there was a risk of injury or death when the airbag is deployed. The issue is related to the airbag propellant which may cause the airbag to inflate with excessive force causing the devices’ casing to break away and become dangerous shrapnel.

Three of the brand's biggest sellers are effected, the Jazz hatch (2003-2014), Odyssey people mover (2003-2011), and to a lesser extent the compact City (2007-2011).

The airbags, made by Japanese component specialist Takata Corporation, have been fitted in cars across many brands, all of which have issued their own recalls with owners being notified by mail. Toyota Australia has also been significantly affected, recalling over 360,000 vehicles, but Honda has been hardest hit.

Believe it or not we have some customers who we’ve written to four or five times...

Honda Australia’s director Stephen Collins said half the faulty airbags have now been replaced and the company is racing to fix the remaining 300,000, channeling more resources into completing the massive task.

“We would be the biggest affected,” Collins said. “Our dealers have been changing on average about 7000 airbag inflators a week, I think we peaked at just under 10,000 in a week which is very significant.

“I honestly believe we’ve taken a real leadership role in the recall through what we’ve put in place. We have a call centre with 24 people working full-time on the recall and our dealers have invested heavily in more technicians and extending hours."

Honda has also set up a recall information webpage here where consumers can enter their car’s VIN to see if it has been affected by the recall.

Some of the vehicles affected are up to 15 years old but by using registration data Honda has been able to identify all current owners of the affected vehicles, even if the car has been sold-on several times.

There are concerns, however, that consumers may not be aware of the recall or aren’t heeding the advice.

“Believe it or not we have some customers who we’ve written to four or five times,” Collins said. 

“I’ve just written a letter personally to 200 people. There are still people we’ve written to many times but just haven’t heard back. So what we ask is for them to refer to our website and our VIN checker – that would help us.”

Collins said he was unsure how long it will take for all faulty airbags to be replaced.

“We still don’t know an end date because there are parts supply issues. I think there’s no doubt we’ll be dealing with this for another 12 months or so.

“For us it’s been a major priority and will continue to be so and that’s why I think we’re going above and beyond to get them repaired and get them repaired quickly.”

Honda vehicle owners should also check the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission website for a list of models affected

Are the car-makers doing enough to resolve the Takata airbag fault? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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