Australia’s largest vehicle recall is well on its way to becoming the country’s biggest class action with more than two million Aussies called on to take part.
More than two million owners of seven different carmakers – including Toyota, Lexus and Subaru – are being encouraged to sign up for the class action and sue the companies over the Takata airbag scandal.
The class action group has been emailing and texting the more than two million Aussies affected by the airbags to provide their information.
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Toyota is emailing more than half a million of its customers to try and gather more information ahead of the planned mediation, due to commence on March 15, 2021.
Mazda, Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan and BMW also face class actions, however other brands affected by the recall managed to avoid litigation.
Across Australia, the recall involved more than four million and 100 million worldwide.
Car owners are encouraged to take part in a voluntary questionnaire, approved by the NSW Supreme Court, on the class action’s website.
The Takata airbag class action alleges the seven carmakers who fitted their vehicles with the potentially deadly safety feature “failed to comply with the merchantable quality guarantee in the Trade Practices Act 1974 or acceptable quality guarantee in the Australian Consumer Law; engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct; and engaged in unconscionable conduct.”
All carmakers deny the allegations and will defend their companies in the upcoming class action.
The faulty Takata airbags allegedly led to the death of a Sydney man in July 2017 after his Honda was involved in a minor crash in the city’s west, while more than 20 deaths have been linked to the feature worldwide.
If the class action is successful, compensation will be sought for the potential financial losses suffered.
The losses alleged to be suffered may include “the difference between the price paid for your vehicle and the ‘true value’ of that vehicle (to the extent that difference is attributable to the presence of a Takata airbag); costs associated with the loss of use of your vehicle, if you elected not to drive your vehicle for a period due to the presence of a Takata airbag; money you have spent (or will spend) as a result of the presence of a Takata airbag in your vehicle, including the time, cost and inconvenience of going to a service centre to have the airbags replaced in your car (e.g. taxi or public transport fares or lost wages etc) (Out of Pocket Expenses); and distress, disappointment and/or anxiety caused to you by the presence of a Takata airbag in your vehicle and the subsequent safety recall of the vehicle”, the class action reads.
The class action is set down for trial in May next year.
Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan all denied the allegations set out in the class action while Subaru told The Daily Telegraph it was “vigorously defending the matter”.
Volkswagen similarly denied the allegations and said the case was “without foundation”.
Carmakers have spent years replacing the faulty airbags and roughly 95 per cent of them have been changed as of last month.
However, just under 130,000 affected vehicles are still on the road with 5900 so dangerous they shouldn’t be driven at all.
The voluntary questionnaire will close on November 30, 2020 with car owners encouraged to take part at www.takataclassaction.com.au.