Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey – February 25, 2019 – BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2007-2013 X5 xDrive30i, X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive48i, X5 xDrive50i and X5 M vehicles, 2008-2014 X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6 M vehicles, 2009-2013 X5 xDrive35d vehicles and 2010-2011 X6 ActiveHybrid vehicles as part of the larger Takata airbag recall, which spans decades of vehicles across multiple manufacturers. The potential number of units affected is 83,016.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these vehicles are equipped with specific Takata-manufactured air bag inflators as part of their passenger frontal air bag modules. These non-desiccated propellant filled inflator types may have been original equipment or used as replacements.
Due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling, these inflators can become unstable and may explode in the event of a crash that triggers the deployment of the passenger frontal air bag. In the case of an inflator explosion, sharp metal fragments can fly out of the inflator, striking the driver or other occupants and potentially resulting in serious injury or death.
Timeline of Events
Based upon Takata DIRs that were filed with the NHTSA Jan. 2, 2019, BMW vehicle assembly records were subsequently reviewed to determine what an appropriate potentially affected vehicle population would be, and made the following determination based on recall component differentiation to non-recall component: The recalled component contains a specific non-desiccated ammonium nitrate as the gas generator but the newer remedy part does not.
Propellant wafers in some of the subject inflators degrade over time, which could potentially lead to a violent explosion with flying metal shards in the event of air bag deployment. The potential for such an event occurs in some of the subject inflators after several years of exposure to persistent conditions of high absolute humidity or temperature.
Other factors, such as specific vehicle environment, the inflator and propellant configuration, and manufacturing variability, can also influence the likelihood of an event. Vehicles from southern and coastal areas of the U.S. appear to be more likely to have experienced this degradation. In the face of the latest information from Takata, BMW voluntarily choose to conduct a safety recall to replace the frontal air bags on the affected vehicles. This decision came to pass solely on the basis of information provided by Takata. BMW is unaware of any injuries arising from this issue at the time of the report.
Recall notification to owners is planned to begin and end March 4, 2019. The passenger’s front air bag module will be replaced. Owners will be notified by first class mail and instructed to take their vehicle to an authorized BMW center to have the remedy performed for free. Owners who have replaced the air bag module at their own expense prior to the recall notification may be eligible for reimbursement according to the automaker’s reimbursement plan. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V017000.