2002-'03 BMW 3 Series and M3 Recalled for Defective Airbags


  • 2002 BMW 3 Series Picture

    2002 BMW 3 Series Picture

    BMW is officially part of the global recall of 3.4 million vehicles for defective airbags. | May 07, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • BMW is recalling 42,080 2002-'03 BMW 3 Series and M3s for defective airbags as part of the global Takata airbag recall.
  • BMW told federal safety regulators it has not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the recall.
  • BMW said it does not expect replacement parts to be available until July.

WASHINGTON — BMW is recalling 42,080 2002-'03 BMW 3 Series and M3s for defective airbags as part of the global Takata airbag recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Included in the recall are the 2002-'03 BMW 325i, 325xi, 330i, 330xi sedans; 325Ci and 330Ci coupes and convertibles; 325iT and 325xiT sports wagons; and M3 coupes and convertibles.

"(A) safety defect in the passenger side frontal airbag may produce excessive internal pressure causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment of the airbag," said NHTSA in its summary of the problem. "In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger's frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and potentially seriously injuring the passenger seat occupant or other occupants."

BMW told federal safety regulators it has not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the recall.

BMW said it will notify owners in May, but it does not expect replacement parts to be available until July. BMW dealers will replace the passenger airbag. Owners can contact BMW at 1-800-525-7417.

The BMW recall is part of a global recall of 3.4 million vehicles for defective airbags manufactured by supplier Takata. When the recall was first announced, only four Japanese manufacturers, including Honda and Toyota, were thought to be involved. But the recall has since spread to General Motors and BMW.

Takata said in its April 11 filing with NHTSA that the airbags for the front passenger seat may not inflate properly because of a manufacturing defect in the propellant used in the airbag inflator. As a result, there is a risk of passengers being injured by metal fragments.

The recall involves such popular models as the Honda Civic, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Camry.

Takata's filing said the defective parts were installed as original equipment on BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota vehicles.

"Although Takata knows the number of subject airbag inflators it supplied to each vehicle manufacturer, Takata does not know how many of the subject inflators were installed in vehicles sold in the United States," the filing said.

The document says Takata first learned of the problem from an unidentified automaker in October 2011 after an airbag deployment in Japan. In November 2011, Takata said it was made aware of an incident in which an airbag inflator ruptured in an unidentified vehicle in Puerto Rico. Takata said it is aware of only six incidents where an inflator ruptured in vehicles in the field: four in the U.S. and two in Japan. In addition, there were six incidents that occurred in salvage yards in Japan.

Edmunds says: The wait for replacement parts is holding up this recall, so there is little for BMW owners to do at this point until they get their notification letters.

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