Up to 180,000 NZ cars still have faulty airbags
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
The New Zealand transport agency says it has no plans to initiate a compulsory recall of vehicles affected by faulty Takata airbags, despite Australia launching one, and at least 23 deaths worldwide attributed to the product.
Takata airbags have the potential to spray shrapnel when deployed.
The chemical propellant in the airbag inflators can deteriorate in hot, humid conditions and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister and creating the debris.
At least 23 deaths and more than 230 serious injuries so far have been attributed to the faulty airbags.
The Australian government issued the recall which it says is the most significant in the country's history, affecting four million cars, or two in seven on its roads.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said there had been no reported incidents related to the faulty airbags in New Zealand, and although there were voluntary recalls going on, it would not be issuing a compulsory recall.
"In order for a compulsory product recall of any kind to be ordered in New Zealand, the Fair Trading Act requires that there must be evidence both that the product poses a significant safety risk and evidence that the suppliers or manufacturers are not conducting a satisfactory recall," a spokesperson said.
"The NZ Transport Agency is working with the vehicle industry to ensure that the current voluntary recalls are carried out to a satisfactory level and that all of the manufacturers involved in the recall are offering the appropriate repair or replacement to vehicle owners."
The Australian government has issued a compulsory recall of cars with faulty Takata airbags. Photo/AP
It's thought up to 180,000 New Zealand vehicles still need to have faulty airbags replaced.
Motor Industry Association chief executive David Crawford said the Alpha model of the Takata airbag posed the most risk, adding about 10,000 cars had these airbags.
He said New Zealanders affected should have received letters telling them to get the bags replaced.
The AA said it was disappointed more people hadn't bothered to get faulty airbags replaced, despite receiving the letters.
AA general manager of motoring services, Stella Stocks, said more effort was needed to get all affected vehicles up to standard.
She said people needed to be educated on the risks of not getting their vehicles fixed immediately.
Car owners should check NZTA's website to see if their vehicle was affected.