BMW asks 3 Series owners to 'stop driving immediately' following Takata fatality
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BMW Australia has issued an unprecedented request to owners of selected BMW 3 Series models, following a recent fatality and serious injury in two separate Australian crashes involving faulty Takata airbags.
The notice regards selected E46-generation 3 Series models from built between 1997 and 2000. It's been reported that the inflator within the faulty Takata airbags in these vehicles can rupture in a collision, causing sharp metal fragments to fire around the car and potentially injure or kill vehicle occupants.
Driven has contacted BMW to ask whether the announcement applies to vehicles in the New Zealand market, and we await their reply. UPDATE: BMW New Zealand has responded, stating that locally purchased vehicles "are not affected by the current safety recall in Australia". Click here to read more.
“Owners of affected vehicles should stop driving their vehicle immediately and urgently contact their local BMW dealership or call BMW Australia’s Takata hotline directly on 1800 243 675 to organise their free vehicle inspection,” says the safety notice.
“Vehicles will be either towed to the place of inspection or a mobile technician will come to inspect the vehicle at the (owner’s) home or the vehicle’s location.”
“Transport safety authorities in Australia, US and Japan have identified a different type of Takata airbag that poses a critical risk of death or serious injury to vehicle occupants, prompting an urgent recall of around 12 000 BMW vehicles which may still be in use on Australian roads,” added the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“The ACCC and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development are working with police and other authorities to understand the facts regarding two recent suspected mis-deployments of these inflators in Australia, including a death and a serious injury.”
In Australia, the announcement covers a total of 12,663 vehicles, specifically examples built between November 21 1997 and June 30 2000. BMW Australia has confirmed that those with a vehicle impacted by the request will have a loan car arranged for them or have alternative transport costs reimbursed "until airbag replacement parts are available or until other arrangements are in place". Vehicle buybacks are also being considered.
It's been reported by Australian publication CarAdvice that replacement airbag parts could take as long as 18 months to become available. The website also claims that both crashes that prompted the announcement occurred in the last three months.
Overall, 24 people have been killed globally by faulty Takata Alpha and Beta airbags, with over 260 seriously injured by the same airbags.