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BMW, Nissan added to class action over Takata airbags

German car maker BMW and Japanese manufacturer Nissan are facing legal action over the use of Takata airbags which have been linked to 18 deaths worldwide.

The two car companies are the latest to be drawn into the class action before the New South Wales Supreme Court.

Sydney lawyer Damien Scattini, from law firm Quinn Emanuel, said the statement of claims against the companies were lodged this week.

All up five manufacturers including Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota and BMW are now facing class-action law suits.

It is claimed the car manufacturers marketed, distributed and promoted defective vehicles fitted with Takata airbags, stating they were safe to drive and did not take adequate steps to warn people of the dangers.

Mr Scattini said the court action is seeking refunds based on an Australian consumer law that entitles consumers to refunds if a product has a fault that makes it unsafe and the problem cannot be rectified within a reasonable time.

BMW Group Australia and Nissan Australia have been contacted for comment.

Last year, the Japanese company, Takata Corporation, pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to pay a $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) penalty for concealing evidence that its airbag inflators could explode with too much force.

In the defective airbags, the ammonium nitrate used to inflate the airbags deteriorates over time and when deployed can shoot out shards of metal at people in the car.

More than 180 injuries have been recorded worldwide, prompting the recall of 100 million vehicles globally — making it the biggest recall in automotive history.

The faulty airbags have been linked to the death of a 58-year-old Australian man in Sydney.

The deployed Takata airbag which injured a young Darwin driver.

A 21-year-old woman in Darwin was also injured in April.

In Australia, 2.1 million vehicles have been recalled, but an investigation by consumer group Choice last year found more than two-thirds of those have not yet had their faulty airbags replaced.

The three-month investigation found car owners were being told by manufacturers there was a minimum six-month wait to remove the potentially lethal safety devices.

Choice also found that a number of car manufacturers, including BMW, have been replacing the airbags with like-for-like devices as a temporary fix.

Last year, the Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack proposed a compulsory recall of all vehicles with defective Takata airbags installed which would require car makers to replace airbags within a specific timeframe.

Original Article

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