The curse of the shrapnel-tossing Takata airbags has struck again - BMW has launched a voluntary recall campaign on 1.6 million BMW 3-Series vehicles from the model years 2000-2006. It is an extension of a recall campaign announced in May 2013 on 42,000 3-Series models located in the U.S.
The new campaign seems to be attributed to poor record-keeping on the part of Takata, that continues to result in never-ending database and manufacturing corrections from the Japanese airbag maker that has already send automakers including Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler and GM scrambling to conduct supplemental recall campaigns this year.
Takata recently notified carmakers that they have discovered additional production periods in which faulty airbag inflators may have been installed in passenger side airbags.
The problem is essentially this - the airbag may deploy with too much pressure, causing the bag to rupture and possibly shoot dangerous shrapnel into the passenger compartment, possibly causing serious injury.
Of the total 1.6 million vehicles, BMW has located about 574,000 within the U.S. BMW says that there are no reported injuries or incidents related to this recall, which is precautionary in nature.
The company will notify owners by mail. Dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag module.
As recently as last month, BMW issued a limited regional recall for some 2001-2005 3-Series cars that were registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands for the same reason. Again, the company reported no actual incidents or injuries. The recall was predicated on some cases reported by other automakers that indicated that high heat and humidity could lead to the rupture of the Takata airbags.
Other recalls within the last two months pertaining to the Takata airbag issue include 8.557 Subarus, 58,669 Fords, 34,600 Mazdas, and yet to be determined number of Toyotas, Nissans, Chryslers and Hondas. Last year, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Mazda recalled 3.3 million vehicles (1.4 million in the U.S.) worldwide because of the defective airbags.
The Takata Corporation has caused the recall of over 12 million vehicles in the past five years due to shoddy workmanship or sloppy record-keeping, or both.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated six reports of Takata airbag inflator ruptures, all of which occurred in Florida and Puerto Rico.
For their part, the Takada Corporation issued a statement claiming that "For the past several months, we have been consistently cooperating with NHTSA, and we will do so during the defect investigation that the agency recently opened, but we also stand by the quality of our products."