Airbag Problem Prompts BMW Series 3 Safety Recall

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Automotive recalls continue at a torrid pace over the last few quarters. Thankfully for beleaguered General Motors, this time the recall involves a competitor. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW) released a statement on Wednesday, July 16th, announcing that it was planning to recall about 1.6 million cars globally in its 3 Series as part of an ongoing initiative to replace passenger-side front airbags that impacts seven major automakers.

BMW emphasized that this recall is voluntary, and the purpose is to replace airbags that could explode under certain circumstances. Including all automakers, as of July 1, this airbag issue had led to recalls of more than 10 million vehicles since 2009.

The statement from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) (ETR:BMW) said about a third of the BMW cars (around 574,000) included in the recall are in the U.S. The German luxury automaker said the recall  involved cars sold from 2000 to 2006.

Details on BMW series 3 recall

The actual problem relates to a potentially defective airbag inflator made by the Tokyo-based Takata Corporation (TYO:7312) (OTCMKTS:TKTDY)., a major manufacturers of airbags and an important supplier for the auto industry.

BMW emphasized the recall was a precautionary safety measure, and said it would replace the passenger-side front airbags for all 3 Series models produced between May 1999 and August 2006, not including the 42,000 U.S. vehicles that were already recalled in May 2013.

Recent GM recalls

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has been dealing with a raft of serious recall issues over the last couple of years. Less than two weeks ago, GM issued a recall of 7.6 million Chevrolet Malibu 1997 to 2005 and Cadillac CTS 2003 to 2014 models for “unintended ignition key rotation.”

Earlier in June, GM recalled 3.4 million Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Buick LaCrosse, Lucerne, Cadillac Deville and DTS cars because of a similar defective ignition switch.

The automaker also recalled more than 33,000 vehicles with potentially defective airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation (TYO:7312) (OTCMKTS:TKTDY).

As of the end of June, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has said it anticipates writing down $2.5 billion related to recall expenses in the first half of 2014 —  $1.3 billion for the first quarter and $1.2 billion for the second quarter.

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