Car dealers in Cayman said they are continuing to see a steady flow of vehicles which need to have their airbags replaced but aren’t expecting additional action from a new warning out of Australia.
A consumer watchdog agency in that country this month bumped up its warnings regarding certain vehicles with faulty airbags, advising drivers of specific cars not to drive them, even if only to the dealership to have the airbags replaced.
In its announcement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned that country’s drivers that 20,000 vehicles – whose recalled Takata airbags had not yet been replaced – were unsafe to drive and should be towed to a repair facility. It called the situation “critical”.
“Classification as ‘critical’ means manufacturers have assessed these airbags as being particularly unsafe,” the commission’s deputy chair Delia Rickard was quoted as saying.
The classification means Australian car owners can be reimbursed for the cost of having their cars towed for repair. The cars affected include models made by Honda, BMW, Toyota and Mitsubishi.
The concern with the airbags is that the components sometimes break apart when the airbag is explosively deployed and those parts can become lethal projectiles.
In January this year, hundreds of Honda owners brought their vehicles to Car City during a three-day event to replace the faulty airbags. Since then, cars with recalled airbags continue to come into the dealership’s service department “on a daily basis”, Diane Hedge, service manager at Car City, said.
She said she was unaware of the heightened warning issued in Australia. No similar warning has been announced in Cayman.
Many of the cars that Car City repairs are sent by the Department of Vehicle and Drivers Licensing when they don’t pass inspection due to not having replaced a recalled airbag.
“If it’s a (recalled) Honda and you don’t have an invoice from Car City,” Hedge said, “they will send you over to have the airbag replaced.”
At Vampt Motors, marketing director Katie O’Neill said the concern about airbag replacement is ongoing. She said the dealership continues to reach out to owners who might be affected, both directly and through social media and advertising.
If car owners are uncertain about whether their car’s airbag needs replacement, they should contact the dealership. “They can call and we’ll look it up for them,” O’Neill said.