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BMW Recalls 390,000 Cars With Airbags That Could Explode

Topline

BMW is recalling more than 390,000 vehicles in the U.S. equipped with recalled airbag inflators, which have an increased risk of exploding in a crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday, an issue regulators say has killed dozens of people over the last decade.

The defective airbags have killed at least 27 people in the U.S., regulators said.

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Key Facts

The recall covers some BMW 3 Series Sedans and Sportwagon models manufactured between 2006 and 2012 that may contain airbag inflators manufactured by Takata, which could explode when deployed in a crash after exposure to heat and humidity, causing metal shrapnel to shoot into the car, regulators said.

Takata’s airbag inflators have exploded and killed at least 27 people in the U.S., injuring at least 400 others, according to the NHTSA, including the driver of a 2014 BMW X3 who was injured by shrapnel after the vehicle’s airbag exploded in October.

Many of the inflators—installed by dozens of automakers worldwide—may have been installed by owners, though they were not initially offered or approved by BMW as a replacement part, regulators said.

Takata issued a recall for the airbag inflators outside of the U.S. earlier this year, and BMW decided “in an abundance of caution” to recall potentially affected vehicles last month.

BMW told the NHTSA it was not aware of and had not received reports of accidents or injuries caused by the defect.

BMW said it will notify affected drivers starting Aug. 10, and dealers will offer free replacements for the airbag modules.

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Big Number

67 million. That’s the number of Takata airbag inflators recalled in the U.S. by the NHTSA since 2019, affecting tens of millions of vehicles across several automakers, the agency said. This is the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history, in addition to another 33 million airbags recalled worldwide. While most airbag inflators have been installed in passenger cars, they have also been equipped on trucks manufactured by Daimler and Ferrari’s luxury vehicles, according to the NHTSA.

Surprising Fact

Nissan issued a “Do Not Drive” warning to the owners of nearly 84,000 vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbag inflators in May. An exploding front-passenger inflator killed one person driving a 2006 Nissan Sentra in 2018, according to Nissan, which previously recalled over 736,000 cars with the inflators in 2020. Ford, Dodge, BMW and Chrysler, among other automakers, have issued similar warnings to drivers in recent years.

Key Background

Several automakers have issued recalls for cars equipped with defective Takata airbag inflators over the last decade. The Transportation Department fined Takata $200 million for the inflators in 2016, the largest civil penalty ever handed out by the agency, which requested regulators to preserve all recalled inflators for a federal investigation. The NHTSA has been asked by the agency to test all recovered inflators. Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017, following years of regulatory scrutiny.

Tangent

Stellantis issued a recall on Wednesday for 332,000 vehicles equipped with front seat airbags that may not deploy as intended during a crash, increasing the risk of injury. The recall covers Alfa Romeo Giulia cars manufactured between 2017 and 2024, Alfa Romeo Stelvio cars from the 2018-2025 model years, Fiat 500X vehicles from 2019-2023, some Jeep Renegade models and 2024 Fiat 500E vehicles.

Further Reading

ForbesNissan Warns 'Do Not Drive' Nearly 84,000 Cars With Explosive AirbagsBy

Source: forbes.com

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