BMW has expanded its Takata recall to E46 3 Series models previously fitted with new Takata inflators as replacements for their old, potentially deadly units.
UPDATE: Although the original recall included Alpha inflators, BMW has confirmed the latest campaign only includes 29,864 cars fitted with new Beta inflators to replace their ageing, and therefore more dangerous, airbag inflators during the last campaign.
As with all Takata-related recalls, the inflators in affected vehicles can degrade because of heat and humidity. If a vehicle included with a faulty inflator is included in a crash triggering the airbags, the metal inflator housing could explode or rupture under the internal pressure, sending metal fragments shooting into the cabin.
That puts occupants at risk of serious injury or death.
BMW will be in touch with owners of the affected vehicles, and advise them to organise a time with their nearest dealership for a free replacement inflator.
The Takata airbag recall affects more than 100 million vehicles and nearly 20 automotive brands around the world. Among those are more than five million vehicles in Australia, the equivalent of four years of nationwide sales.
Globally, there have been 20 deaths linked to the scandal, and 230 serious injuries. One Australian motorist lost their life to a faulty Takata airbag in July 2017, one month after another Australian driver was seriously injured.
In February 2018, the recall of vehicles affected by the faulty Takata airbags was made compulsory under law, with affected manufacturers required to replace all defective airbags by the end of 2020. The ACCC earlier this year added some 1.1 million vehicles to the compulsory recall.
According to the Australian Government, the risk of a defective Takata airbag rupturing may arise between 6 and 25 years after it is installed in a vehicle. In areas of high heat and humidity, the risk of rupture may arise between 6 and 9 years.