More than 75,000 vehicles here hit by airbag recall

More than 75,000 vehicles in Singapore are affected by a worldwide recall caused by a potentially fatal flaw in the airbag system, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed yesterday. -- PHOTO: AFP
More than 75,000 vehicles in Singapore are affected by a worldwide recall caused by a potentially fatal flaw in the airbag system, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed yesterday. -- PHOTO: AFP

Toyota, Honda models make up most of those here that need parts replaced

More than 75,000 vehicles in Singapore are affected by a worldwide recall caused by a potentially fatal flaw in the airbag system, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed yesterday.

Japanese company Takata, which supplies a fifth of the world's airbags, has said that at least 36 million vehicles around the world - 34 million in the United States alone - need parts replaced after finding that an inflator module can propel shrapnel when the airbag is deployed.

Six fatalities, including one in Malaysia, have been linked to the problem, along with more than 100 injuries.

The LTA said dealerships here are still establishing the number of vehicles needing attention, "given the large numbers of vehicles affected worldwide".

Toyota and Honda vehicles make up most of the models affected here, but only BMW agent Performance Motors has started replacing the airbag component in affected cars.

Other dealerships are still waiting for parts from Takata.

Preliminary estimates indicate that 37,000 Toyotas made between 2001 and 2007, 32,000 Hondas, 4,600 Subarus and 4,000 Nissans here are affected, along with an undetermined number of Mazdas.

The LTA, which requires manufacturers and dealers to announce recalls and fix the flaws, said the Toyota models include the Camry, Corolla, Picnic, RAV4, Vios and Yaris.

For Honda, the models include the City, Civic, CR-V, Jazz and Stream. The Cefiro, Prairie, Presage, Sunny and X-Trail are among Nissans to be recalled.

Several thousand BMW 3-series are affected, but BMW Asia said that since these cars were made between 1999 and 2006, most have reached their 10-year statutory lifespan and have been scrapped. Only 160 are still on the road and, of these, 60 per cent have been fixed.

Mr Ron Lim, general manager of Nissan agent Tan Chong Motor, said the Nissans affected were those made between 2004 and 2007. He estimates that 3,000 are still on the road.

"The earliest expected commencement for (parts) replacement is August," he said.

Toyota agent Borneo Motors said it is waiting for the manufacturer to deliver the parts.

It is not known how affected cars sold by parallel importers - some of which are no longer in business - will be fixed.

But Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said: "It is safe for customers to continue driving their cars. We will contact them once we have received the parts."

Nonetheless, marketing executive Li Yinfu, 48, who owns an eight-year-old Nissan X-Trail, said: "It is certainly worrying to hear of such problems."

christan@sph.com.sg