BMW recalls vehicles with defective air bags


Westwood, N.J. – Aug. 24, 2017 – BMW of North America has recalled more than 3,000 vehicles believed to contain defective air bag assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2012-12013 BMW X3 xDrive28i and xDrive35i sport utility vehicles manufactured between Nov. 8, 2011 and April 20, 2012. BMW estimates that just 1 percent of the total number of recalled vehicles contain the defective parts. This campaign serves as an amendment to an earlier recall initiated in September of last year.

The Defect

The models referenced in this campaign could come equipped with improperly welded Takata-model inflator air bag housings on the driver’s side. This defect could lead the inflator to detach from the base plate during deployment, resulting in the discharge of dangerous metal debris that could potentially harm occupants. However, BMW has yet to receive any reports connecting the defective feature to any injuries.

Timeline of Events

On Aug. 15, 2016, BMW received notification of an accident involving an X5 SUV, according to NHTSA documents. Investigators looking into this event noticed that metal projectiles had caused damage to the cabin. Engineers examined the vehicle and determined that the air bag inflator module had separated from its base plate during deployment, showering the interior with debris. Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 7, BMW and air bag manufacturer Takata met with NHTSA officials to discuss the issue. Early tests indicated that Takata was at fault, as the air bag inflator housing had not been properly welded during production.

On Sept. 13, 2016 BMW launched a voluntary safety recall. During this same time, Takata began an internal investigation into its processes.

BMW received the preliminary results from this investigation July 20, 2017. The data indicated that the issue also existed in vehicles not addressed in the previous recall. Eleven days later, Takata confirmed this and recommended that BMW take action to ensure owner safety. The German automaker then reviewed its production records and compiled a final list of new vehicles containing the defective air bag assemblies.

On Aug. 2, BMW quality assurance personnel decided that an additional recall action was necessary, and launched another voluntary safety campaign. The company notified dealers Aug. 8.

Both the car manufacturer and Takata have pledged to continue monitoring the issue.

The Solution

BMW has directed dealers to replace the driver’s side air bag assemblies in affected vehicles free of charge, according to documents submitted to the NHTSA. The automaker plans to notify owners via first-class mail by Oct. 2. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact BMW customer service at (800) 525-7417 or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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