BMW has issued a recall order for around 1.6 million 3 Series vehicles as the airbag crisis in the automobile industry continues.

The 3 Series cars involved in the recall order have model years from 2000 to 2006. About 574,000 of these cars are in the United States.

The recall order was issued due to concerns of possible injuries to the front-seat passenger when the airbag deploys, as a crash could result in metal shards being released along with the airbag.

The airbag inflator, the part of the airbag assembly that is at fault, was manufactured by the embattled Takata Corporation, which is seen as responsible for the recall orders involving over 10 million cars all over the world in the past few years. Other automobile manufacturers that have issued recall orders include Toyota, Subaru and Honda.

According to an investigation by BMW, the explosive propellant stored inside the inflator case assembly has not been properly prepared, which could lead to a release that is too powerful once the airbags are deployed. The excess power may rupture the metal case of the inflator, releasing sharp fragments into the compartment. On the front-seat passenger side, the metal fragments may fly up to the windshield or down to the feet of the passenger.

BMW said that it has not been informed of any incident involving ruptured inflator cases. However, the problem can prove to be fatal as incidents reported by Honda saw two drivers in the United States killed by the metal shards of the ruptured cases.

BMW added that the recall was "a voluntary precautionary measure" as the company was made aware of the issue. Once a car manufacturer discovers a safety problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires the company to inform the NHTSA within five business days of a recall plan.

The NHTSA began [pdf] investigations on the airbags manufactured by Takata in June after six reports of ruptured airbags were received from Puerto Rico and Florida. The agency estimated that 1.1 million cars in the United States could be carrying the defective air bags, but that estimate could soon go up.

Earlier this month, Honda expanded its own recall order by 1 million vehicles, all within the state of California, due to similar issues in Takata-made airbags. 

Last month, GM was force to halt sales of the 2013 and 2014 models of the Chevrolet Cruze, along with a recall of 33,000 units, also due to issues with airbags made by Takata.

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