For several years now manufacturers have been battling the largest recall in motoring history, as millions of faulty Takata airbags of multiple types, spread across multiple brands, have been recalled.
Mercedes-Benz has now found themselves in hot water over the ditch. The German firm has had a lawsuit filed against it by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for allegedly downplaying the importance of the recalls.
According to the lawsuit, Mercedes staff are known to tell customers that it’s “okay” for them to continue driving Mercedes models with the offending Takata airbags fitted if they’re more than six-years-old.
“These alleged representations used language which was inconsistent with the requirements of the compulsory recall notice,” the ACCC said.
Mercedes has refuted the ACCC’s claims somewhat, noting that the ‘Beta’ Takata airbags found in its vehicles aren’t as high risk as the most deadly ‘Alpha’ Takata airbags. It adds that it’s replaced over 97 per cent of affected Takata airbags in its vehicles so far.
“[The] recall process overseen by the ACCC did not require affected Mercedes-Benz vehicles to be off the road or owners to cease driving them until the repair was undertaken,” Mercedes said in an overseas statement.
The ACCC’s answer to this? They claim that Mercedes’ recall notice included both kinds of airbag. They also note the death of a motorist in Sydney, linked to the supposedly less dangerous ‘Beta’ airbag type.
Drivers involved in a crash while behind the wheel of a car fitted with a faulty Takata airbag are vulnerable to additional shrapnel being sent throughout their interior upon airbag deployment. This has caused at least 26 deaths around the world, according to reports from mid-2020.