Faulty airbags produced by Takata are still being fitted on cars that have already been recalled due to malfunctioning airbags, Australian consumer group Choice has claimed.
Choice said Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Lexus, and Subaru have admitted replacing airbags with identical devices, describing the measure as a temporary solution, for cars sold in Australia.
The consumer group warned car manufacturers left people "driving ticking time-bombs" but Toyota, which is among the five companies involved, insisted the replacements will be safe for years, given the original problem only manifested among ageing airbags.
"This action provided safety for a number of years, however due to exposure to the environment over time, these airbags will need to be replaced again," Toyota, which has recalled six million vehicles worldwide, said in a statement.
However, the consumer group added there were as many as 14 car manufacturers still fitting faulty airbags, but most of them had not come forward yet.
"While estimates of how long the dodgy Takata airbags take to break down vary, it's deeply concerning to think these bombs in a bag lie in wait in many popular cars, poised to explode their deadly shrapnel into unsuspecting victims," Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
"Although Toyota, Mazda, BMW, Lexus and Subaru admitted to Choice they made identical replacements, perhaps more worrying are the other manufacturers who continue to refuse to share this information with the public."
Takata faces billions of dollars in liabilities and compensation over the faulty parts, which have been linked to at least 17 deaths and over 150 injuries worldwide.
In some cases, airbags were fitted with a faulty inflation system, which expanded too rapidly, often resulting in metal shrapnel being shot at passengers.
The issue was attributed to the nitrate-based propellant used by the airbags' inflating system, which is prone to explode after prolonged exposure to hot and humid conditions.
Over 100 million vehicles, 70 million the US alone, fitted with Takata airbags have been recalled since 2004, when reports of an issue first arose.
Choice also added approximately 70% of the 2.1 million vehicles recalled in Australia had not yet been refitted.
Honda, Toyota, BMW, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jeep, Nissan, Chrysler and Dodge, are among the manufacturers which sell cars to the Australian market that were fitted with the faulty Takata airbags.
Paul Fletcher, Australia's minister for urban infrastructure, said he contacted all manufacturers "seeking a comprehensive status update on the progress of their recall program and their communications with owners of vehicles potentially affected."
Meanwhile, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims, said the ACCC was urgently seeking information over the state of the recalls.
"We would have very serious concerns if manufacturers were found to be misleading consumers about their car's safety in breach of their obligations under consumer law," he said.
"The airbags degrade over time and can become lethal by misdeploying and firing metal shards at the car's occupants," Sims said.
"If consumers have already had their airbag replaced, they should contact their manufacturer for advice as to what kind of airbag it was replaced with and how long it is expected to last."