Takata Airbag Recall Exposes Flaws In Government Policy Proposals

Takata Airbad recall exposes serious flaws in government policy proposals on personal import vehicles (PIV). The unprecedented worldwide Takata airbag recall affecting over 50 million vehicles in the US and Australia could be the largest recall in automotive history and exposes serious flaws in Australian Government policy proposals to relax restrictions to allow large-scale importation of PIVs on Australian roads. While there has been no reported incidents or deaths in Australia to date AADA CEO Patrick Tessier said the authorised dealer network in Australia would work closely with manufacturers to ensure defects are remedied as soon as possible. At the same time he called on the Government to reconsider its proposal on PIVs which would be purchased online or from an overseas supplier with limited protection available to the purchaser under Australian Consumer Law. “Will safety be the price we pay for a relaxation of Government policy? A PIV purchased outside the authorised dealer network would not be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and could not be traced in the event of a recall.

Will the Government take responsibility for, and bear the costs of, ensuring defects such as faulty airbags are remedied on a PIV?” says Tessier. “The dealer network in Australia cannot be held liable to remedy defects in respect of a recall of a PIV. We take full responsibility for the products we sell.” he said. “A PIV purchased from an overseas supplier or via a faceless internet transaction may initially seem attractive in terms of pricing and choice, but carries a number of ownership risks including safety that must be assumed by a consumer. AADA would strongly object to any attempt to transfer any ownership risk associated with a PIV onto the authorised dealer network.

Tessier referred to and listed some of the ownership risks associated with a PIV:

-lack of provenance of the vehicle;
-no ANCAP safety rating;
-lack of Australian Design Rules (ADRs) compliance;
-lack of manufacturer’s warranty and notification of recall;
-vehicle may not be fit for purpose for Australian operating conditions;
-lack of spare parts and specialised servicing and repair facilities;
-limited recourse against supplier and limited protection under Australian Consumer Law
-ability to insure the vehicle; and
-tradability of vehicle.

While the airbag recall will give rise to class actions and criminal investigations in the US it is hoped that replacement airbags and spare parts are available in Australia as soon as possible to prevent injury to the Australian motoring public. Tessier concluded “Will safety be the price we pay for a relaxation of Government policy in respect of a personal import vehicle?”