Australian watchdog calls for 20,000 cars with Takata airbags to be kept off roads


Recasts and adds Honda and Toyota comments

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Australia's consumer watchdog on Friday urged the owners of 20,000 vehicles with defective Takata airbags classified as particularly unsafe to stop driving immediately.

In an urgent safety alert, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said a total of 425,971 vehicles are still to be fixed under a compulsory recall.

Car makers like BMW BMWG.DE, Honda Motor 7267.T, Mitsubishi Motors 7211.T and Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T have classified 20,000 of these vehicles as "critical" and they should not be driven, the regulator said.

At least 23 deaths worldwide have been linked to the rupturing of faulty Takata air bag inflators and millions of vehicles worldwide have been recalled.

Honda Australia said it has replaced 90.9% of Takata airbags in its cars, adding that remaining affected customers should act on the recall notice urgently.

Toyota's Echo and RAV4 vehicles produced between 2003 and 2005 have been classified as critical, Toyota Australia said in an emailed statement, urging customers with airbags still be replaced not to drive.

BMW Australia and Mitsubishi Australia did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Devika Syamnath and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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