Picture: NEWSPRESS
Picture: NEWSPRESS

Mazda SA on Monday became the latest automotive company to initiate another recall of vehicles fitted with Takata airbags.

The car maker is recalling 19,000 vehicles in the country, including its Mazda2, Mazda6 and RX-8 models manufactured from 2003 onwards.

In 2016 it recalled 8,000 vehicles over the same issue.

The recalls come at a time when the motor industry is under pressure to develop the next generation of technology such as autonomous driving, alternative fuel engines and increased connectivity.

Last week Ford, Mazda and Nissan announced a global recall of 2.7-million vehicles.

A Nissan SA spokesperson said the recall affected its Tiida and Livina models, although it could not confirm how many cars were involved.

This is the latest episode in the Takata airbag inflator crisis, which shows no sign of abating, with the total number of vehicles likely to reach 70-million worldwide.

In January Takata was hit with a $1bn fine. In February the firm pleaded guilty to charges of deceiving car makers about the safety of its airbags.

In June Takata filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the US, raising questions about who will fund the recall campaigns and the numerous lawsuits and claims against the company.

It has set up a compensation fund of which the details are still being worked out.

The reason for Mazda’s recall remains the same — the inflator inside the Takata airbags is at fault. In certain conditions, the inflator could explode and send metal and plastic bits across the vehicle’s interior.

In the US 11 deaths and 180 injuries have been attributed to the faulty airbags.

Mazda has advised that it will contact owners of the affected vehicles, but given that the models go back to 2003, it is likely that many will have changed hands, so owners should contact a Mazda dealership.

Mazda and Nissan are not the only car makers recalling cars this week. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled 1.3-million vehicles globally for airbag issues and faulty wiring. The latter will be of concern to the 1,951 owners of 2011-14 Chrysler 300C models in SA which could have faulty wiring that may cause the vehicle to stall without warning or even cause the alternator to short-circuit, possibly leading to a fire.

Faulty wiring is also the cause of 3,760 Dodge Journey models built between 2011 and 2015 being recalled by Fiat Chrysler SA. The faults could lead to the unintended deployment of the driver’s airbag.

Fiat Chrysler SA said it would try to contact as many owners as possible or they could contact their nearest dealership.

 

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