After a six-month investigation into counterfeit parts, Toyota Australia has formally lodged Federal Court proceedings against a pair of independent retailers for selling allegedly unsafe airbag spiral cables.
Toyota says the distributors are putting the safety of drivers at risk by using cheaper, inferior airbag components.
The parts were sold to dealers and repairers as genuine Toyota parts, alleges the company. The issue is unrelated to the Takata global airbag recall affecting millions of new vehicles.
Toyota asserts that “Internal testing found that the counterfeit airbag spiral cables are of inferior quality, which poses a number of potential risks to customers”.
The ACCC declined to take direct action when the issue was raised almost two months ago, and it’s understood that other brands may also be affected by the counterfeit parts.
Toyota has been Australia’s number one car-maker for years and has an enviable reputation as a safe and reliable brand.
The Japanese car giant wants the list of all customer cars affected by the counterfeit parts so it can replace them with genuine components.
“It is our expectation that the independent retailers will contact the impacted customers to advise them that they have purchased counterfeit parts and replace the airbag spiral cable with a genuine Toyota part at no cost to the customer,” reads the Toyota press statement.
In a worst case scenario the faulty airbag parts could result in occupant injury if the airbags do not deploy properly.
The counterfeit parts will only have been fitted to vehicles whose airbags have previously deployed, so cars that have not been involved in a collision are not affected.
“We want to take this opportunity to reiterate to customers that the spiral cable would only have been replaced if their vehicle was involved in an accident and the airbag deployed. Customers are assured that the Toyota dealer network only uses genuine Toyota parts,” said Toyota.
“Due to court proceedings, we will not be making any further comments on this matter.”