25 September 2023

Another life taken by a Takata airbag

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By Karl Peskett.

Sadly, another life was extinguished by a faulty Takata airbag inflator, but details have only been released now, months after the crash which caused the airbag to go off.

The vehicle involved was a 2002 Honda Accord, and the company says that it made numerous attempts to both phone and write to the car’s owner, with 12 letters and 20 phone calls being documented by Honda of North America.

The repairs were never done, but the real shame is the vehicle was sold to a new owner less than three months before the crash that ultimately killed the driver. Unfortunately, there is no law that requires people selling vehicles second hand to have any recalls rectified, nor of sellers to notify prospective buyers that the car is under a recall notice. That responsibility is up to the buyer.

In this case, the result was a crash which activated the airbag, with the igniter projecting shrapnel into the driver. They died three days later in hospital.

Takata’s airbags were equipped with ammonium nitrate to create a tiny detonation which filled the airbags with hot air. However, deterioration thanks to high temperature and humid conditions made the igniter erupt too aggressively, which fired metal particles into the new owner of the Civic. The death takes the total tally to 24 people killed by Takata airbags.

The recalls and lawsuits have effectively ended the company, with a Chinese investment firm taking over Takata’s assets.

If you’re wondering if your vehicle is affected by the Takata recall, see https://ismyairbagsafe.com.au/

NISMO launches heritage parts range

Ever wondered how you would replace your Nissan GT-R’s engine block once the conrod had punctured it? Plenty of internet forums and online marketplaces will sell you what you need, but that can be a minefield, dealing with people you don’t know.

Enter NISMO, Nissan’s performance division. The offshoot of the Japanese carmaker is now offering genuine replacement parts including body panels and engine components.

Getting a genuine front bumper for an R32 Skyline, a replacement roof or even new rear body panels is almost unheard of, however for somewhere between $1100 to $2300 you can buy them from NISMO.

An engine block and cylinder head will cost you $2160 or $2380 respectively for the RB26. That’s a steal, considering what most people are asking for them these days. Although the costliest part is the block for the RB26DETT N1 engine, which is listed at $5400.

For fans of the GT-R, or those who have gone over the top with modifications, this should come as a welcome surprise.

Audi’s e-tron family to grow significantly

For those with a penchant for electric vehicles, the news that the Audi e-tron SUV is on its way is good news. But according to European sources, there’s set to be a stack more e-tron models to come in the next few years.

Initially, a Sportback version of the e-tron will lob, followed by the e-tron GT sedan, and then late in 2020, an all-electric version of the Q3 crossover. But according to Automobile magazine, there will be an entire fleet that is electrified.

An e-tron GT shooting brake, a Q2 e-tron, Q4 e-tron, Audi Q5 e-tron are all slated for 2021 and onwards, with a Q6, Q7, Q9 all mentioned as being a possibility. The entire A-series, such as the A4, A6 and A8 are also in line for getting the e-tron treatment.

In fact, effectively the entire range will come in an electric version, with an electric supercar to lead the…ahem…charge.

The rollout will happen over the next few years, and hopefully Australia’s electric charging infrastructure is set up in time to be ready for the EV onslaught.

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