More than 90,000 Honda car owners driving with faulty Takata airbags

More than 90,000 Honda car owners have ignored up to eight recall notices and continue to drive with faulty airbags blamed for a number of serious injuries and deaths.

Takata airbags have been implicated in the deaths of 18 people worldwide, including a Sydney man who died in a car crash in Cabramatta in July.

Stephen Collins, the director of Honda Australia, urged customers to check if their vehicle was subject to the recall.

"As of late last week, there are still 94,325 Honda vehicles in need of repair," he said in a statement

Mr Collins said the majority of remaining affected vehicles were owned by people who do not service through the Honda dealer network. 

"[W]e are urging customers of vehicles who service outside the Honda network to have their vehicle repaired, free of charge, as soon as possible," he said.

All airbag inflator rectification work is free of charge and takes between two and four hours to complete, according to Honda.

More than half a million inflator repairs have been completed by Honda, with 122,971 inflators still to be replaced. 

"Unfortunately there are still some customers of affected vehicles who are simply not responding to repeated attempts by the company to contact them and have their airbag inflators replaced. We need to change this behaviour," Mr. Collins said.  

In response, the car company will issue another recall letter that warns drivers "Choosing not to act could be deadly".

The letter features images of the damage caused by an abnormal deployment of the airbag, showing a puncture hole through a front headrest and a car roof where metal fragments have shot out of the airbag. 

Mr Collins said he hoped the graphic images would prompt drivers to have their vehicles repaired.

Fairfax Media reported in July that Honda and Nissan were among manufacturers with recall-affected vehicles identified by Choice as "remaining silent" on the safety issues.

The consumer group also found that at least five car makers in Australia had recalled their vehicles over dangerous airbags, only to refit them with a similarly faulty product.

Mr Collins' comments follow another warning issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in September urging drivers to check if their vehicle is subject to the world recall of Takata airbags.

"There have been serious injuries and deaths from faulty Takata airbags," the ACCC said. "The inflator components may deteriorate and subsequently misdeploy in an incident causing metal fragments to propel out of the airbag."

The competition regulator issued a list of models produced by BMW, Chrysler, Ferrari, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota as well as Honda that may have the potentially deadly airbags.

Fairfax Media reported in August that 50,000 Australian cars contained early "alpha" versions of Takata airbags, which had the potential to rupture in one-in-two cases. 

  • Honda drivers can check if their vehicle is affected at honda.com.au/recall or call 1800 789 839.