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Lancer and Evolution models are now being recalled as a precautionary measure by Mitsubishi because of Takata airbag shrapnel risk.
This adds 59,522 vehicles to the growing 660,000 tally in Australia – and circa 53 million globally - of affected vehicles.
Mitsubishi says it affects CH generation Lancers built between 11 June 2003 and 30 December 2008, inclusive of ES, LS VR-X trims and CY and CZ versions of the Evolution halo car.
Japanese company Takata has manufactured 20 per cent of the car industry’s airbags in recent years, and admitted last May that the number of faulty airbags it has made is greater than it originally calculated.
Due to a manufacturing fault, the faulty airbags could spray metal shards when deployed in a crash, and at least six overseas deaths have been linked to the defective devices previously, as widely reported.
Honda made the first Takata airbag-related recall in 2008, with Bloomberg reporting three people familiar with the matter confirmed Takata changed the composition of its propellant mix to offset the effect of humidity, which has been linked to degrading the propellant and increasing the chance airbags could rupture and shoot fragments of occupants.
Then in November 2014, following a series of manufacturer global recalls and occupant deaths, the New York Times reported Takata technicians were ordered to destroy the results of tests on some airbags after cracks in inflators were discovered.
Ensuing manufacturer recalls and occupant deaths since lead to Takata conceding on 19 May, 2015, that its airbag inflators used in nearly 34 million vehicles are defective.
This latest Australian recall has been delayed by nearly five months, as Mitsubishi says its vehicles sold here are not equipped with the same type of inflators as Mitsubishi vehicles sold in the US and Japan, and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has elected to issue this recall as a precautionary measure.
“As the root cause is still under investigation, MMC has decided to initiate the recall campaign in Australia as a preventative and investigative measure,” said John Taylor, product communications manager for Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited.
“There have been no passenger-side airbag failures reported and no accidents, damages or injury have occurred in Australia or any other market that sells Mitsubishi vehicles,” he added.
“Australian-market vehicles are considered to be extremely low risk. Customers will be notified from this week with priority given to the oldest vehicles in the first instance,” he explained.
This is no easy task given that many of these cars are of an age group that would put them in the used-car sales market and out of the hands of the original owners.
Information for current owners of any Takata airbag-affected vehicles can be cross-checked at www.recalls.gov.au, but specifically affected Lancers are within the following VIN ranges listed below.
Mitsubishi will contact owners of affected vehicles by mail. Vehicles will need to be returned to an owner's preferred Mitsubishi Motors dealer, which will replace the passenger side airbag inflator at no charge.
Customers should direct any immediate concerns to their authorised Mitsubishi dealer, or contact Mitsubishi’s Customer Assistance on 1300 13 12 11.
Thus far recalls relating to the Takata airbag fault in Australia have been issued by Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Peformax (Chevrolet, GMC and Ford aftermarket converters), Subaru and Toyota.
Mitsubishi Lancer Takata airbag recall VIN ranges:
JMASNCT9A4U000573 - 001340
JMASNCT9A5U000265 - 000362
JMFLNCS6W5U000201 - 000995
JMFLNCS7W6U000201 - 000731
JMFLNCS7W7U000201 - 000809
JMFLRCS6W5U000201 - 001533
JMFLRCS7W6U000202 - 001665
JMFLRCS7W7U000201 - 003888
JMFSJCT9A6U000201 - 000822
JMFSJCT9A7U000201 - 000469
JMFSNCS6A4U000201 - 004686
JMFSNCS6A5U000202 - 006378
JMFSNCS6A6U000201 - 001096
JMFSNCS7A6U000201 - 005932
JMFSNCS7A7U000201 - 006196
JMFSRCS6A4U000201 - 008151
JMFSRCS6A5U000202 - 009309
JMFSRCS6A6U000201 - 001360
JMFSRCS7A6U000201 - 007249
JMFSRCS7A7U000201 - 007247
JMYSNCT9A4U000202 - 000335
JMYSNCT9A5U000379 - 000380
JMYSNCT9A6U000424 - 000968
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