“Stop driving immediately”: Mitsubishi to buy back 8,000 older cars in urgent Takata airbag recall

Mitsubishi Australia has asked owners of 8081 older Mirage and Lancer cars, Pajero SUVs, Express vans and Starwagon people movers that could be fitted with potentially deadly airbags to “stop driving immediately”, going as far as offering to buy them back.

Affected examples of the CE Mirage (MY97-00), CE Lancer (MY97-00), NL Pajero (MY97-00), WA Express (MY97-00) and WA Starwagon (MY97-00) were manufactured between May 31, 1996, and September 30, 1991, and sold from July 22, 1996, to July 5, 2001.

Following on from last week’s similar recall affecting Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki vehicles, these Mitsubishi vehicles may be fitted with Takata NADI 5-AT driver airbag inflators, which might not function properly during an accident.

Specifically, this type of airbag inflator could rupture and then cause sharp metal fragments to enter a vehicle’s cabin at high speed, either injuring and/or killing occupants.

There is also a risk the airbag may underinflate and therefore not protect the driver as intended. Both possible issues are prompted by moisture degrading the airbag propellant.

As reported, these driver airbag inflators have so far caused at least one death and two serious injuries locally and were not captured under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s existing compulsory Takata recall campaign.

Owners of the vehicles detailed here should contact their preferred authorised Mitsubishi dealership or call the Mitsubishi Motors Recall Hotline on 1800 931 811 to organise a free inspection.

Vehicle owners not comfortable driving to their inspection can ring the number above to make alternative arrangements.

Either way, if an inspection confirms a Takata NADI 5-AT driver airbag inflators is fitted, Mitsubishi Australia will offer to buy back the vehicle at current market value if it is registered for road use.

While the vehicle buyback negotiations are taking place, alternative transportation will be arranged to avoid owner inconvenience.

Replacement driver airbag inflators are not available to fit due to the age of the impacted vehicles.