CORRECTED-Australian regulator sues Mercedes for downplaying Takata air bag risks

·1 min read

(Corrects to say 4 mln airbags were identified for recall from 2018 onwards, not recalled, in paragraph 2)

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Australia's consumer watchdog filed a court case on Wednesday against Mercedes-Benz for allegedly downplaying the severity of risks associated with using Takata air bags after deaths related to its usage prompted the country's biggest vehicle recall.

The voluntary recalls have been in place since 2009, but in 2018 Australia made it compulsory to recall defective airbags and since then four million such airbags have been identified for replacement. (https://reut.rs/3fupO4W)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that the staff at Mercedes-Benz told consumers the recall was precautionary and there had been no adverse incidents, adding that it was safe to drive vehicles that were over six years old.

"These alleged representations used language which was inconsistent with the requirements of the compulsory recall notice," ACCC added while saying it exposed consumers to chances of serious injury or death by minimising the risks.

Germany's Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, was not immediately available for a Reuters' request for comment.

Car makers like Ford Motor Corp, Mazda and Honda, had pulled millions of their models off the road since 2008, in what was also the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. (https://reut.rs/3Cg6Zfu) (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Indranil Sarkar; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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