In early April, several of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers announced a collective recall of more than 3 million vehicles because of airbags that may deploy with too much pressure and fire shrapnel outward into the driver’s body. Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda and General motors have recalled some of their most popular vehicles because of the defective airbags, which have been linked back to the Japan-based Takata Corporation. Shortly after the recall, BMW announced that they might also be included in the recall, and they started an investigation to determine which vehicles are affected.
Now, BMW has announced that the recall affects its 3-Series and M3 automobiles from the 2002 and 2003 model years. According to the Chicago Tribune, the German manufacturer is recalling approximately 220,000 vehicles worldwide, including more than 42,000 vehicles in the United States.
A defective part that was manufactured at Takata’s Moses Lake, WA plant may cause the airbag to catch fire or send metal fragments toward passengers in the front seats, potentially causing injury or death. According to official documents filed with NHTSA, certain side air bag inflators in passenger air bags “may produce excessive internal pressure causing the inflators to rupture upon deployment of the air bag.”
Takata has acknowledged receiving reports of six incidents where the airbags ruptured on a vehicle “in the field,” including four that occurred in the United States. None of these incidents resulted in injuries. BMW spokesman Dave Buchko reports that BMW is not aware of improper “deployments or injuries related to this issue in any BMW.” However, the Los Angeles Times reported that Takata has been previously linked to producing similar defective parts that resulted in deaths.
BMW will send out letters informing owners of the recall through first-class mail. Owners can make an appointment to have their air bags replaced free of charge, and they can contact BMW by calling (800) 525-7417.