Mercedes-Benz Korea has become the last importer of foreign cars in Korea to join the Takata airbag recall movement. The company has decided to carry out the first recall for Takata airbags, yet market experts point out that it is still slow to respond as it is recalling only 742 out of the 18,274 cars subject to recall.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) announced on March 14 that Mercedes-Benz Korea will recall 742 vehicles in three different models equipped with Takata airbags, including C200 Kompressor. ,
A fatal flaw has been found in Takata’s airbag inflator, and the deadly airbags have caused at least 20 deaths and 200 injuries worldwide, including the United States, Malaysia and Australia, from 2013 due to explosion. Japan’s Takata Corp., which was the manufacturer of the airbag, acknowledged the structural flaw in 2015 and the company went into bankruptcy. Accordingly, most of the domestic car importers, except for Mercedes-Benz Korea and GM Korea, have conducted a voluntary recall from September 2017.
GM Korea announced in February this year to recall a total of 199,000 cars, including 189,279 units of GM Korea’s Lacetti Premiere, Cruze, Aveo, Orlando and Trax models, 5,213 units of FCA Korea’s 300 C (LX) and Jeep Wrangler, 4,298 units of Jaguar Land Rover Korea’s Discovery, and 297 units of Ford Sales and Service Korea’s Mustang.
On the other hand, Mercedes-Benz Korea, has decided to recall only 742 units of three models. This is why there is criticism that Mercedes-Benz Korea is still not making an active response. Although it was a safety issue that is directly related with consumers’ life, the company had decided not to recall its cars in the domestic market, saying there was no accident in its models, and recalled only in large markets, including China.
Mercedes-Benz Korea submitted its recall plan for 18,724 units of its nine different models equipped with Takata airbags to the MOLIT. In a nutshell, the first recall does not even account for 4 percent of the total. Mercedes-Benz Korea said it was because the short supply of components but the first incident of Takata airbags occurred in 2013 and other imported car brands made the first response in 2017. An official from the MOLIT also said, “The company is the last one to conduct the recall but it is recalling the smallest number. We will continuously discuss the ways to recall other cars.”