SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – After much parrying and deflecting, Mercedes-Benz Korea will follow the example of automakers internationally and order a recall of vehicles equipped with problematic Takata airbags.
All told, the recalled vehicles may total up to or over 30,000.
The German automaker’s South Korea branch raised the ire of both the public and the government for what appeared to be inconsistency in dealing with Takata airbag-installed vehicles depending on the country; for example, Mercedes-Benz ordered a recall of 350,000 cars in China on October 15.
The local headquarters had repeatedly postponed any similar measures here by agreeing to take action after an internal investigation, a response that naturally failed to appease many.
What looks to be a breakthrough was announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on December 14. A ministry official stated, “After much pressing of [Mercedes-Benz Korea] to initiate a recall, we recently received word from the company that it will begin recalling vehicles soon once it concludes discussions with the head office.”The official pointed out, however, that required documents detailing a recall plan among others have yet to be submitted.
A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz Korea addressed the issue, saying, “Discussions [with the head office] are heading towards making a recall decision. Nevertheless, details like the total number of vehicles or a timeline have yet to be finalized.”
The controversial Takata airbags were diagnosed with having faulty inflators that would “fire” shrapnel projectiles when activated. According to a report by the New York Times in July, at least 17 deaths around the world have been attributed to the defective airbags.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s data has revealed that 18,724 Mercedes-Benz vehicles produced from 2007 through 2012 are currently carrying Takata airbags (13,811 C-Class, 2,476 GLK and 810 E-Class).
The final tally may fall around 30,000 if the belief that Mercedes-Benz is deliberating on expanding the scope of the recall to include vehicles manufactured from 2012 through 2016 (with Takata airbags) proves to be correct.
The only other domestic automaker that has so far displayed a lukewarm response to the subject of Takata airbag-caused recalls is GM Korea.