Most read story: Is your vehicle affected? Here's a list of car make & models hit by mass NZ recall of airbags

Source: 1News

Note: This story was first published on Wednesday April 4

A list of vehicles affected in the airbag recalls has been released after Minister of Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi announced that several hundred thousand airbag units in use in New Zealand cars will need to be recalled for safety reasons.

An extensive list of all makes and models which will need airbag recalls can be found here:  https://www.recalls.govt.nz/airbags/

Mr Faafoi said all Alpha type Takata brand airbags in new and used cars are now subject to a compulsory airbag recall, and he said they are used in "many of the common car makes in New Zealand".

While there have been "no serious or fatal incidents" so far involving the airbags, "the risks are too great to do nothing".

"I am concerned to say .... in New Zealand more than 450,000 vehicles are affected by the overall Takata recall," Mr Faafoi said.

"79,000 of these are the higher-risk Alpha-type airbags - 50,000 vehicles still need Alpha-type airbags being replaced.

"In summary, we have inherited a situation where 307,000 vehicles are still on the road in New Zealand being used by everyday families where a safety risk known to the previous government since 2013 has not been sufficiently addressed ... we can not allow this to go unaddressed."

TVNZ's Fair Go first reported on the Takata issue back in October 2016, indicating one in 10 New Zealand cars have an airbag inflator that failed overseas. 

A the time of this 2016 report NZTA's national manager of delivery, Robyn Elston, said "there are safety ramifications but no immediate risk to safety" from the airbags.

The recall announced today is compulsory for vehicles with Alpha type Takata airbags.

It is the second ever compulsory recall in New Zealand and comes into effect immediately.

A further 257,000 vehicles will be monitored via a voluntary system.

A total of 450,000 vehicles are affected, of which 307,000 are still on the road.

The issue has been known about since 2013 but a voluntary system has operated since then.

An urgent inquiry was called after Australia announced a compulsory recall.

Consumer NZ head of testing Paul Smith said today manufacturers and importers will have 18 months to finish repairs on possibly defective vehicles. 

"Not all Takata airbags will explode on deployment, in fact it’s unlikely – a one in 400 risk is reported globally," Mr Smith said.

"But the older ‘alpha’ airbags, fitted to cars manufactured between 2001 and 2006, are more dangerous – tests have shown there’s a chance every other deployment could be explosive."

The Japanese company Takata has manufactured airbags that are fitted to about 100 million worldwide.

The airbag inflator can be negatively affected by moisture, with the result being it could deploy with explosive force in a crash.

In the worst cases they have sent metal shards flying into the passenger cabin.