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MORE than 1.2 million people have visited the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ (FCAI) Takata airbag website to check if their vehicle is affected, the FCAI said in a statement yesterday.

The site was started by the FCAI to inform people if their car is caught in a Takata airbag-related recall. Its beauty is its simplicity – users need only type their registration number and their state.

FCAI media and communications manager Peter Brewer told GoAutoNews Premium that not only was the high visitor rate pleasing, but he noted that the drop-off rate – which is how long people stay on the site and follow through the information – was very low at less than seven per cent.

“Of the one-million plus people who visited the site and checked if their vehicles were affected by the Takata airbag recall, three-quarters were not affected,” he said.

“This shows us that many people are very concerned about the recall and that the campaign to get the airbags replaced is working.”

It is the largest advertising campaign the FCAI has conducted on the industry’s behalf.

FCAI analytics showed that in the first week of the site being unveiled, it had 769,841 unique website visitors who made more than 1.23 million registration checks. More than half of the visitors used mobile devices.

One in nine found that their vehicle was affected by the recall and were prompted to continue on the website to receive advice about their next step. Mr Brewer said 754,000 visitors – or about three-quarters of the total number of visitors – found that their car was not affected.

More than 5000 people used the text-based service offered to users without access to the internet. They simply text the word TAKATA to 0487 247 224 and receive advice.

One brand that acknowledged the website’s success was Holden.

Its director of communications, Anna Betts, said that while there were no concrete figures yet on the recall, she said the number of vehicles coming into service centres for airbag replacement was higher than initially anticipated.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said: “We’re pleased how the public has responded to this important safety message and it is interesting to note that a large proportion of the website visitors are checking more than one vehicle.

“The campaign was specifically designed to both raise public awareness of this issue and to motivate vehicle owners to use our web tool to deliver a quick and easy answer.

“There are just over three-million vehicles across Australia affected by the Takata recall and the industry is now about halfway through that task. There’s a lot of airbag inflator replacement work going on in dealerships right around the country.”

He said the recall awareness campaign will start on radio later this month and go into regional areas.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has stated that after 10 years of Takata airbag recalls, 1.6 million vehicles in Australia remain unrepaired.

The most dangerous airbags, known as Alpha airbags, were fitted to about 115,000 cars and it is estimated that about 19,500 cars with Alpha bags are still unaccounted for and could potentially still be out on Australian roads.

The ACCC said these airbags require urgent replacement and drivers should avoid driving cars containing the airbags until they have been fixed.

In a plea to manufacturers and vehicle owners to get the faulty airbags replaced, the ACCC said 1.8 million “potentially deadly” airbags in 1.6 million vehicles still need replacing as part of its compulsory recall program that ends in 2020.

It said that in the past 12 months, 1.1 million airbags in 930,000 vehicles had been replaced.

Manufacturers were not required to start recalling vehicles until July 1, although the ACCC said some began earlier.

Since then some car-makers have officially kicked off their campaigns, with Volkswagen and Skoda announcing the recall on July 30, while Audi started on July 13.

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By Neil Dowling