Mercedes-Benz fails to recall deadly airbags

Mercedes-Benz is in trouble with the ACCC after failing to recall cars fitted with Takata airbags.

German car maker Mercedes-Benz is in hot water with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after it failed to initiate a recall of vehicles with potentially deadly Takata airbags. 

The manufacturer was supposed to recall specific C class and E class models with the faulty airbags in the second half of 2018 but failed to do so due to the unavailability of spare parts. 

The ACCC alleges that between June and November 2018 Mercedes-Benz failed to initiate vehicle recalls and may have contravened the Australian Consumer Law and exposed consumers driving the vehicles to serious safety hazards.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the cars should have been prioritised for urgent replacement due to their age, exposure to heat and humidity, or location of the airbag inflator.

“Mercedes-Benz failed to comply with its obligations to initiate recalls under the Takata compulsory recall, potentially putting the lives of drivers and passengers at risk, and failed to inform anyone of the delay,” Ms Rickard said.

“We will continue to take enforcement action where necessary to address non-compliance with the Takata compulsory recall.”

RACQ Principal Technical Research John Ewing said Mercedes-Benz failed its customers and put them at risk of serious injury and death by failing to initiate the recall in a timely manner.

“The faulty airbags are incredibly dangerous and anyone with an affected vehicle should stop driving it immediately,” Mr Ewing said. 

“In a crash, the Takata airbags can propel metal fragments at high speeds, which can kill or maim anyone in the car.

“Defective Takata airbags have killed at least 24 people around the world, so the message is clear – get your car checked as soon as possible.”

Mr Ewing urged all motorists who owned these Mercedes vehicles, or anyone else concerned about the safety of their vehicle’s airbags, to contact their car dealer or check if their vehicle was affected by a recall at 

“If your vehicle has been recalled, your manufacturer will organise for it to be inspected and will determine if it needs a replacement airbag,” Mr Ewing said. 

Following the initial failed recall, Mercedes-Benz has promised to follow a revised schedule to get the affected vehicles off the road as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, the manufacturer will provide free hire cars or alternative transport for owners of high-risk vehicles if it is unable to replace the airbag within two weeks from the date requested by a consumer.