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Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki add to recall of cars with Takata airbags in Australia

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. are the latest carmakers to issue voluntary recalls of vehicles in Australia that were installed with potentially deadly airbags supplied by Takata Corp., according to Australia's competition watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, said the recall of more than 18,000 vehicles covers certain cars manufactured between 1996 and 1999, with the companies offering to buy back the vehicles affected.

The vehicles were fitted with Takata non-azide driver inflator type 5-AT airbags, which are present in about 78,000 vehicles sold in Australia by a variety of manufacturers.

Takata airbags have triggered massive recalls in recent years after being linked to fatalities and injuries across the world.

"These airbags could injure or kill people in the car by misdeploying in an accident and propelling parts or metal fragments into the cabin of the vehicle at high speed. The airbags have also, in some instances, not fully inflated in a crash, thereby failing to protect drivers as expected," ACCC Acting Chairman Stephen Ridgeway said.

The ACCC is urging owners of the affected vehicles to stop driving them immediately and contact either Toyota, Mazda or Suzuki to arrange free inspections. In addition to the carmakers' offer to buy back vehicles, Toyota is offering alternative transport options until the airbag is replaced.

At least four reported incidents involving suspected erroneous deployments of the Takata airbags have been reported to date in Australia, with one reported death and a serious injury involving vehicles made by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and another death and serious injury linked with Toyota vehicles, the ACCC said.

The latest recall in Australia follows those of Germany's BMW and Volkswagen AG-owned AUDI AG, as well as Ford Motor Co., in November 2019. The three carmakers have listed nearly 17,000 vehicles for recall since November 2019.

In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in December 2019 that Takata will recall 1.4 million more airbag inflators that are used in some brands of vehicles of model years 1995 to 2000.