- article submitted by The National Collision Repairer
Australia’s peak body representing independent automotive repairers, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), advises that there are abundant repair resources across the country ready to assist in handling the enormous backlog of faulty Takata Airbag replacements.There are thousands of professional repairers equipped with the facilities required, located in major cities and in rural areas, who are ready to assist in ensuring the safety of two million Australian vehicle owners. With many car dealers already sub-contracting work to independent repairers, it makes perfect sense to meet the demand of the compulsory Takata Airbag recall by significantly speeding up the pace of what has been a painfully slow and increasingly dangerous recall process. According to AAAA Executive Director Stuart Charity, more than 20,000 independent automotive repair businesses equipped with professional technicians stand ready to assist in a timely and co-ordinated industry response to this unprecedented consumer safety issue. “By including independent repairers to assist in meeting the demand of so many justifiably-concerned Australian motorists and their families, this major recall process gains the efficiency benefits of a footprint of more than 20,000 independent repairers, along with their highly trained technicians who are located all over Australia, not just in the major cities.“It has become very clear that the voluntary process co-ordinated by the car companies and their dealer networks simply does not have the resources to meet the demand and to ensure a timely solution to so many affected Australian car owners. I have written to the CEO of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and the Hon. Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, to advise that Australia’s aftermarket repair sector and its vast resources and expertise are ready to assist to ensure the safety of affected Australian vehicle owners,” Mr Charity stated.Another important issue that the AAAA notes is the fact that car companies often do not have contact details for the second or third owners of vehicles that are equipped with faulty Takata Airbags. It is the independent repairers who work on these cars every day and with recall notices going to the last known address of each car’s first owner, it’s little wonder there are still millions of cars with faulty airbags on Australian roads, nine years after the first voluntary recalls of faulty Takata airbags was announced. The AAAA also notes that it is of major concern that the car manufacturers still appear to be placing the blame on this incredibly slow process of replacing these faulty airbags on their customers. The frustrated responses that many Australian motorists have made clear throughout various media channels at not being able to have their faulty airbag replacement work done by their dealers in a reasonable timeframe has made it abundantly clear that the problem is most definitely the other way around. “To think that any motorist would knowingly drive a car with a faulty and dangerous airbag and decide not to take it into their dealer for recall replacement is beyond absurd,” Mr Charity stated. “It wreaks of an industry looking for excuses as to the inexplicable delays that have taken place since the first voluntary Takata Airbag recalls were announced in 2009.”“This very dangerous situation is yet another example of why we need a mandatory code for the sharing of repair and service information with independent repairers. A mandatory code will ensure that the diagnosis and rectification of dangerous faults, such as the safety critical information that is required for an airbag recall, can be organised and dealt with quickly,” Mr Charity said. “The excuses have to stop, and a co-ordinated national industry response enacted immediately – people’s lives are at stake here,” he concluded.
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