Since the beginning of May, things have been far from smooth sailing for Citroën. The French manufacturer has launched a nationwide recall campaign affecting thousands of C3 and DS3 vehicles, due to faulty airbags caused by "heat and humidity".

In all, more than 200,000 vehicles (181,734 C3s and 65,149 DS3s) are involved, and garages are now overwhelmed, not to mention the fact that many customers are left without a car, as it is often their only car. But the resistance is getting organised.

Gallery: Citroën C3 (2020) test

"Citroën endangered the lives of others

Christophe Lèguevaques, a French lawyer at the Paris Bar, believes that the situation is intolerable, and this Thursday he will be launching a collective criminal action against the brand with the chevrons. He told France Bleu Drôme Ardèche on Tuesday 4 June:

"Consumers are very angry with Citroën, which is preventing them from driving without taking responsibility for repairing or replacing their vehicles. This puts them in catastrophic situations in terms of work, family life and life in general. In any case, Citroën is really out of touch. They don't answer the phone and their IT system is saturated. By joining forces, by getting together, we'll be able to make ourselves heard and maybe get some respect from these people, especially as there's also a moral prejudice because we've been driving a dangerous car for ten years now".

Lèguevaques also asserts that the French brand was well aware of the problems linked to the airbags produced by Japanese automotive supplier Takata, without taking any action:

"This affair is just the tip of the iceberg, because behind it all, we learn with horror that Citroën has known about this problem with Takata airbags for ten years and yet has done nothing about it. I'm therefore going to take criminal action for fraud, because Citroën defrauded its customers and endangered the lives of others".

Takata and defective airbags

69 million company vehicles worldwide have been recalled in recent years following problems with Takata airbags. These include models such as the McLaren 570S, the Lexus LFA and several Ferraris...

A well-known problem

It turns out that the French brand is not the only one affected by these faulty airbags. According to UFC-Que Choisir (a consumer association), the Japanese manufacturer (which went bankrupt in 2017) has installed more than 100 million of its devices in cars around the world. It was revealed on 31 May this year that the Spanish brand SEAT had also recalled several models since April, and this was also the case for BMW, which had more than 20,000 cars returned.

This problem was even detected in 2019, when Ford, Honda and even Toyota (the latter recalled 1.7 million vehicles) declared that "the housing containing the propellant gas for this airbag could burst". This malfunction led to the deaths of 27 people worldwide...

Despite this, Christophe Lèguevaques is keen to warn motorists who may wish to use their faulty vehicle by deactivating the airbags. 

"I would warn of the danger of doing this, particularly in relation to insurance companies. Some insurers have said that they will not insure vehicles that are affected and are being driven. So, unfortunately, I'm obliged to say be careful and pay attention, because if you don't, Citroën and/or the insurers could reproach you for your behaviour".