Honda Australia has exposed the seriousness of the Takata airbag recall process by pushing for government assistance in finding affected vehicles and called for yet-to-be-fixed cars to be denied re-registration.
Although Honda has managed to complete 81 per cent of Takata-related repair work, the industry average sits at around 40 per cent, while one unnamed carmaker has only achieved a 17 per cent replacement rate.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the outstanding 19 per cent of repairs, around 94,325 vehicles, would be difficult to locate and complete without assistance from governing bodies.
“One of our discussions with the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) over the last few weeks … was we are really pushing for government assistance, particularly through the registration authorities, to enable or not enable re-registration or change of ownership of vehicles that have an outstanding recall applicable – not just for Honda but across the industry,” he said.
“Our request to the government and the ACCC is to do that, but that would require coordination with all the state registration authorities.
“I think the ACCC have been really conducive to that and open to that, but ultimately that will help us a lot to bridge the 20 per cent gap.”
Mr Collins also revealed the remaining Takata-affected vehicles are increasingly difficult to track down due to changing hands with multiple owners over the years, but the Japanese car-maker had put in place a help line and website for anyone concerned.
Takata airbag inflators are at the centre of the world’s biggest automotive recall.
Honda is willing to “bend over backwards,” Mr Collins said, to help customers get their airbags replaced, including helping them move the vehicle to a dealership, providing a loan car or even accommodation if distance to the nearest Honda dealer was a problem.
The brand is also poised to introduce a graphic recall letter headlined by “Choosing Not to Act Could Be Deadly” that showcases the potentially deadly effects of a faulty Takata airbag deployment.
It will also trial door-to-door searches for cars and increase repair work in rural parts of Australia including Mount Isa, Broome, Exmouth and Tennant Creek.
Takata airbag inflators are at the centre of the world’s biggest automotive recall. The airbags can be faulty and cause death or injury as shrapnel can be shot into the vehicle cabin upon deployment. One Australian death has already been attributed to the fault.
Honda Australia is stepping up its letter campaign with a more detailed and graphic image to showcase the worse-case scenario in a vehicle that has yet to have its Takata airbag inflator replaced.
With 60,000 replacement inflators in stock and an addition 60,000 to come before the end of 2017, Honda has enough components in stock to bring its completion rate to 100 per cent by 2018.
Concerned customers should view the Honda Australia website to check if their vehicles have been fixed, or call Honda’s dedicated recall centre on 1800 789 839.
All repair work is free of charge to vehicle owners and take between two and four hours to complete.