Honda is targeting multicultural communities in “critical” metropolitan suburbs as part of its drive to remove deadly Takata airbags from Australian roads.
One man died in 2017 in Cabramatta and at least one other person has been seriously injured in Australia as a result of faulty Takata airbags that can rupture when triggered in a crash, propelling lethal shrapnel toward vehicle occupants.
The Japanese manufacturer will focus on 10 postcodes in NSW and Victoria deemed to be the “most critical” for outstanding Takata airbag recalls.
As the site of Australia’s first and only fatal Takata incident so far, Cabramatta and its western Sydney surrounds are number one on the list.
Nearby areas including Casula, Liverpool, Bankstown and Auburn all rank among the top five postcodes where Takata is struggling to get hold of people who own vehicles equipped with problematic parts.
Those suburbs represent some of the most ethnically diverse areas in Australia, prompting Honda to reach out to publications presented in a variety of languages including Arabic, Indian, Italian, Vietnamese and Chinese community newspapers.
In Victoria, St Albans, Hoppers Crossing, Werribee and surrounding areas represent challenges for the brand.
Honda has also worked in remote and regional communities by sending repair teams to areas such as Thursday Island, Mount Isa and Broome.
More than three million cars around Australia are affected by the nation’s largest safety campaign, an international scandal which triggered unprecedented mandatory recalls brought forward by the ACCC and Turnbull Government.
Honda has replaced 661,155 airbag inflators in 436,921 vehicles so far, at a rate of up to 7000 per week.
Some 44,719 Honda vehicles still need to be addressed including 7006 home to be the most dangerous “Alpha” variety of inflators.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said there were a number of reasons why people may have not brought cars in for free repairs, even if they have have received written recall notices.
“Among them would be the age of the car, the vehicle not being known to our database and ultimately, in the case of some of these postcodes, where English is not the first language in the household,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how old your Honda is.
“All Honda owners should check their vehicle and if it’s part of the Takata recall, then make arrangements to have the airbags replaced.”
While many customers were initially asked to wait to receive spare parts, the manufacturer says it has a “plentiful supply” of replacement components manufactured by Diacel and Autoliv.
While the ACCC has previously been critical of car companies not doing enough to ensure deadly airbags are removed from vehicles, manufacturers have trawled through wrecking yards, sent people door-to-door with recall letters and established dedicated call centres, websites and social media campaigns to ensure the message gets through.
Several carmakers including Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Honda have contributed to a central slush fund for a unified advertising campaign likely to start in the second half of the year.
Honda customers who require replacement airbags can arrange free repairs by contacting its recall hotline on 1800 789 839.
People requiring the use of an interpreter can contact the Honda language line on 1800 785 216.
Top 10 “most critical” postcodes for outstanding Takata repairs:
1. 2166 — Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Lansvale (NSW)
2. 2170 — Casula, Casula Mall, Chipping Norton, Hammondville, Liverpool, Liverpool
South, Liverpool Westfield, Lurnea, Moorebank, Mount Prichard, Prestons, Warwick Farm (NSW)
3. 2200 — Bankstown, Bankstown Aerodrome, Bankstown North, Bankstown Square,
Condell Park, Manahan, Mount Lewis (NSW)
4. 2144 — Auburn (NSW)
5. 3021 — Albanville, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans (Vic)
6. 2145 — Constitution Hill, Girraween, Greystanes, Mays Hill, Pemulwuy, Pendle Hill,
South Wentworthville, Wentworthville, Westmead (NSW)
7. 2176 — Abbotsbury, Bossley Park, Edensor Park, Greenfield Park, Prairiewood, St Johns
Park, Wakeley (NSW)
8. 3029 — Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, Truganina (Vic)
9. 2165 — Fairfield, Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West (NSW)
10. 3030 — Werribee, Werribee South, Cocoroc, Derrimut, Point Cook, Quandong (Vic)
Source: Honda Australia.