Car brands under investigation as another safety scare looms
AN AIRBAG flaw linked to as many as eight deaths could spark sweeping safety recalls in the US and beyond.
America's NHTSA road safety body is investigating whether faulty electronics in more than 12 million cars must be replaced. The highway authority says an airbag control unit produced by parts supplier TRW "could fail during a crash event resulting in non-deployment of airbags and seat belt pretensioners".
It says airbag failures in two crashes involving Toyota Corolla models resulted in the death of one motorist. Associated Press goes further, reporting that up to eight people may have been killed as a result of the issue.
A Toyota Australia spokesman said "at this stage, Toyota Australia vehicles are not affected".
Other brands including Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Mitsubishi, Jeep and Chrysler have been linked to the issue in the US.
Jeep and Chrysler recalled more than 22,000 Australian cars in 2016 to address the problem.
Seat belt pretensioners, which grab hold of passengers before an imminent crash, are also affected by the issue, which is not related to shrapnel propelled by faulty Takata airbags.
The ACCC said at the time that "the potential loss of airbag and seat belt pretensioner deployment capability in such crash events may increase the risk of injury in a crash".
As to whether other brands will fix potential local cars, a spokeswoman for the ACCC says it "does not generally publicly comment on possible future recalls".
Kia Australia says airbags in Australia are not affected by the investigation as local parts differ from those found in the US.