BMW Recalls 220,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Airbags

BMW announced a recall affecting approximately 220,000 of their vehicles worldwide. The recalls involves model years 2002 and 2003 as part of a wider recall made by Takata Corp.

The latest recall includes BMW’s very popular “3-series” sedans, coupes and convertible models, as well as the station wagons produced from December 2001 to March 2003, including 45,000 sold in the U.S. and Canada. BMW expects that 180,000 of the vehicles are still in use, Bernard Santer, a BMW spokesman, told Bloomberg News.

One month ago, 3.4 million vehicles worldwide were recalled because of faulty airbags manufactured by Takata, the world’s second-largest maker of airbags and seatbelts.  The recall affected Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co, Mazda Motor Corp and General Motors.  Approximately 1.3 million of those recalled vehicles are in the United States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that 42,080 BMW vehicles would be recalled in the U.S.

In Germany, home market of BMW, 64,044 vehicles will be recalled.

In Britain, 24,272 vehicles will be recalled, Italy will recall13,022, France will recall 10,449, Spain 9,954 and Japan at 7,890.

Company spokesman, Dave Buchko stated that the parts necessary to repair the recalled vehicles should be received by July.

No injuries or accidents related to this issue, nor any deployments of the airbags in any vehicles, have been reported, company spokesman Buchko said.

As we reported previously, Honda recalled 1.7 million vehicles because of a problem with the propellant in driver-side airbags manufactured by Takata. In each of the recalls, the Takata-made airbags for the front passenger seat may not inflate when needed due to a manufacturing defect caused by the propellant used in the airbag inflator.  Not only is this defect putting passengers at risk when the airbag fails to deploy, due to this defect, there is a risk of fire starting as well as passengers being hit by metal fragments shooting up toward the windshield or down into the passenger foot well.

The Takata airbags that affect the BMW recall were made from April 2000 to September 2002 at Takata’s plant in Moses Lake, Washington, according to BMW’s NHTSA report. It was also stated in the NHTSA report that the propellant components in the airbags may have been produced with insufficient compaction force.

AOL Autos recently reported that automakers have issued 22 airbag-related recalls in the past six months; eight of those recalls involved Takata, according to NHTSA records. In 2012, there were 23 airbag-related recalls.  In the first five months of 2013, there have been 15 airbag-related recalls.

As though this wasn’t bad enough for Takata, the NHTSA report revealed that inflator propellant components, which, were manufactured from October 2001 to October 2002 at their plant in Monclova, Mexico, might have been exposed to an uncontrolled environment with too much moisture.

NHTSA’s report on the BMW recall cautioned that if either of these conditions were to occur, over time, the inflator propellant could possibly degrade, which could create a condition of excessive internal pressure within the airbag system when the airbag deploys.

Last month, Takata reported a loss of 30 billion yen ($307 million) for the year ending March 31, because of costs associated with the recall.

Takata said it learned of the problem from an unidentified automaker in October 2011 following an airbag deployment in Japan. Takata said it learned of a Honda accident in Puerto Rico the following month, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

Takata was unable to reproduce the problem during testing from February 2012 through June 2012, however, in the fall of 2012, Takata was made aware of three additional incidents; two more in Puerto Rico and one in Maryland, according to documents filed with NHTSA.

BMW spokesman, Buchko, did state, however, that of all five manufacturers with cars involved in the enormous Takata recall, there have only been a dozen or so improper deployments of airbags reported among more than 3.4 million vehicles.

BMW says they will contact owners and replace the airbags free of charge.

How many more automakers will be affected by this airbag defect? Unlike brakes and tires that need to be replaced and checked with wear and tear, you most likely won’t know if your airbags are working properly until they deploy when they shouldn’t or they do not deploy when they should! This manufacturer needs to be held accountable for their negligence. Feel free to comment on this blog post.

For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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