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Thousands Of Dodgy Airbags Swapped For Equally Faulty Replacements

Major car manufacturers slammed

Thousands Of Dodgy Airbags Swapped For Equally Faulty Replacements

Five major car makers have been slammed for allegedly refitting vehicles with potentially faulty airbags without telling owners. 

Consumer group Choice says there could be hundreds of thousands of death traps on Australian roads. 

After several months investigating, Choice says some Toyota, Mazda, Lexus, BMW and Subaru's on the roads could be 'ticking time bombs', after the car makers admitted to replacing the dodgy Takata airbags with identical, potentially faulty parts. 

The airbags have been linked to at least 18 deaths around the world, including the death of a 58 year old New South Wales man earlier this month. 

A 21-year-old woman also suffered serious injuries when a faulty Takata airbag didn't deploy properly during a crash in Darwin in April.

All up, around 100 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide. 2.3 million are recalled here in Australia, and 850,000 have been in for the repairs. Trouble is, those repairs may not be exactly what drivers expected. 

"With 2.3 million vehicles in Australia requiring their potentially lethal Takata airbags to be replaced, it's clear the car companies are under pressure to fulfil their obligations under Australian consumer law," says spokesperson Tom Godfrey. 

"However, refitting vehicles with the same dangerous airbags still leaves people driving ticking time bombs."

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We've heard from plenty of concerned drivers who say they've received a letter about needing repairs, but have been told it'll be 6+ months before parts become available. 

"Most of the recall notices we've seen suggest the wait is at least six months, though many people have to wait longer," says Godfrey

"Car companies will not offer loan cars in most cases." 

"People unhappy with the wait should lodge a complaint with their state's Fair Trading body."

Choice wants laws introduced to ensure companies involved in product recalls use safe replacements, and fines for those that fail to do so.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating the Choice claims. 

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