Almost one million vehicles in South Africa will have to be recalled for inspection as a “precautionary measure” because of faulty airbags that could harm or kill vehicle occupants.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) sent out the following communication to the public via SMS:
“Your vehicle has been identified as being part of a safety recall campaign. You will be contacted by the manufacturer who will provide you with an appointment to visit their service centre. Please ensure that you engage in this critical safety matter as directed.”
This was due to them being fitted with possibly faulty Takata airbag inflators between 2002 and 2015.
NOTICE: We are running a recall campaign on behalf of NAAMSA. We’ve sent letters and SMS’s to notify motorists that the manufacturers will contact them to schedule an inspection at a dealership. Its part of the Takata Airbag Issue. Close to 1 million vehicles must be checked.
— Road Traffic Management Corporation (@TrafficRTMC) January 23, 2021
National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) chief executive officer, Michael Mabasa, said: “This was precautionary and not mandated.”
He said South Africa had not yet had an airbag incident, “which is good news”.
“However, as a precautionary measure, we need to inspect these vehicles in case the airbags explode.”
Mabasa said currently 936,000 vehicles, manufactured in 2015, were affected in South Africa, with 377,000 already tested.
He said from the 49 different car brands in South Africa, only 10 were being recalled.
These car brands were Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and UD Trucks.
Mabasa said the RTMC would assist them with the recall as their database only had information of new car buyers from dealerships.
“Since 2015, many people have replaced those particular vehicles and these vehicles are now in the hands of second-hand owners. The RTMC will ensure that through their data, we can track the current owners of these vehicles.”
He said many of the vehicles had been written off or were “not on South African roads any longer”.
“We urge those who have bought vehicles through 2002 and 2015 to contact their dealerships so we can be able to test and replace their airbags at no cost.”
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said: “The airbag releases with force whenever the vehicles are in a crash and this poses a danger to drivers and other occupants.”
He said the campaign with Naamsa started around 2017, but it was discovered that the response from vehicle owners was not satisfactory.
“This is either because vehicles have been sold to second or third owners and in some cases, they have been written off. The RTMC was asked to get involved because it keeps a database of vehicle ownership whether it’s a first owner or second owner.”
Zwane said vehicle owners could log in to the website of the manufacturer of the vehicle and check by entering the VIN number if their car had to be inspected.
“To prevent theft, owners are advised to deal directly with vehicle manufacturers and should take vehicles to the dealership for inspection. Owners should under no circumstances hand keys to people who may claim to have been sent to collect the vehicles.”
This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.