Toyota Australia has issued a safety recall for approximately 48,000 of the company’s Corolla and Rukus models after revealing replacements for defective Takata airbags have been incorrectly installed.
The news is the latest development in the Takata scandal, with the faulty parts already linked to around two dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.
According to Toyota, some customers who sent their Corolla and Rukus vehicles for a refit now have improperly fitted inflators on their new airbags. Affected drivers face an increased risk of serious injuries if they are involved in accidents.
Inflators are devices that sit inside the airbag assembly. They contain a solid propellant that turns into an inert gas when ignited, which causes the air bag to inflate during a collision. Toyota claims the inflators may not have been effectively sealed during installation, meaning the gas could leak out and fail to deploy the airbag.
Toyota said it will contact affected drivers and encourage them to take their vehicle to a local dealer.
The inflator can be checked via a 15-minute inspection and then replaced within 90 minutes if incorrectly installed. The manufacturer confirmed any repairs will be free of charge.
There is no indication that the airbags themselves are faulty, and Toyota did not confirm whether or not the replacement parts were also manufactured by Takata.
Nevertheless, the auto maker was forced to recall a further 7,000 vehicles fitted with Takata airbags last month. The announcement affected the Corolla Sedan, Yaris Sedan and Rukus brands.
“In involved vehicles, as the airbag gets older, a combination of high temperatures and humidity can result in degradation of the inflator propellant,” Toyota said in a statement.
“If a vehicle with degraded propellant is involved in a collision, the airbag can go off with too much explosive force, causing sharp metal fragments to shoot out and kill or seriously injure people in the vehicle.”
The Takata airbags scandal has already led to lawsuits against vehicle manufacturers in Australia.
Toyota, Subaru, BMW, Honda and Lexus are among the companies facing a class action for the deaths and serious injuries that Takata airbags have caused.
People who are hurt as a result of faulty products in the country can pursue compensation under civil liability and consumer protection laws. Successful may be awarded significant damages for any financial losses and pain and suffering they have experienced.
Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can assess your claim, gather evidence on your behalf and begin proceedings for product liability damages. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more about our no-win, no-fee service.