It seems that airbag recalls are a little like busses. You see none for ages, and then a rush of them come along at once.
Following closely on the heels of recalls from Mitsubishi and Volkswagen to rectify various pieces of hardware associated with airbag safety systems, German automaker BMW has issued a voluntary recall of some 6,073 cars, including a significant number of 2014-2015 BMW i3 and 2014-2016 MINI-branded vehicles to rectify a problem with the passenger-side front airbag module which could result in airbags failing to deploy properly in the event of a collision.
In total, the recall affects various 2014-2016 MINI, MINI Cooper and MINI John Cooper Works models — 5,150 MINI branded cars in total — made between March 2014 and August 2015, as well as some 923 BMW i3 electric cars made during the same period.
According to official documentation filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a manufacturing error in the assembly of the passenger-side front airbag module meant that the internal components of the airbag inflator was not assembled as specified. Due to this BMW says, the passenger-side front airbag module may experience an ‘unspecified time delay’ between the firing of the first and second stage airbag deployment, thus resulting in inadequate inflation of the airbag to provide proper protection in the event of an accident.
Looking at the documents associated with the filing, we note that the manufacturer of the airbag component at fault is Takata, a tier-one parts supplier whose faulty airbag system has been involved in some 19 million vehicle recalls from nearly every major auto manufacturers in recent months.
We should note however that the high-profile Takata case — which NHTSA said yesterday could involve more than the 11 automakers it originally associated with the recall — revolved around airbag inflators which could explode with too much force and thus spray metal shrapnel into passenger compartments. So far, 8 deaths and 100+ injuries have been traced back to the faulty component.
The recall involving the BMW i3 and the 5,150 MINI-branded vehicles is different: in this case, says BMW, the fault has been traced back to a manufacturing error in the disposal ignition of the 2nd stage, made by Takata’s sub-supplier ARC. With the part traced to the sub-supplier, assembly plant documentation and quality control procedures of the sub-supplier were reviewed, allowing ARC and thus Takata and then BMW to correctly identify the vehicles in which the faulty units are present.
To date, BMW says it has not received any reports of accident or injuries relating to the fault.
As with all recalls, BMW says it expects to notify customers directly via first-class mail in the coming month, with repair and replacement carried out free of charge under warranty at approved BMW dealerships.
In the meantime, concerned owners can contact BMW customer relations directly on 1-800-525-7417, or email BMW’s customer relations team on [email protected]
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