Drive an E46 M3 or E39 M5? Your Takata airbag could kill you.
BMW has issued an immediate do not drive warning for around 90,000 vehicles in the US, including the E46 M3 and E39 M5, due to them being equipped with defective Takata airbags.
In addition to those two models, BMW has confirmed the following models are also included: 2000-2006 E46 3 Series, E39 5 Series, and 2000-2004 X5s. These vehicles have Takata's front airbag inflators and are deadly if not replaced.
The Takata airbag recall fiasco dates back to 2013 when automakers confirmed they were aware of problems related to those airbags. At the time, 13 deaths and 100 injuries had been recorded in Honda vehicles. Takata, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and paid a $1 billion penalty in the US alone as a direct result of the largest recall in automotive history, admitted it had mishandled the manufacture of explosive propellants and improperly stored chemicals used in airbags.
In short, Takata lied.
To date, approximately 67 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled. BMW says this current round of cars was already been included in previous Takata-related recalls but, for various reasons, remains unrepaired despite efforts by the automaker since 2016 to contact owners.
As these airbag inflators age, the risk of death or severe injury increases. The carmaker correctly decided to get owners' attention by issuing the do not drive order.
"We cannot state strongly enough just how urgent it is for our customers to take this warning seriously. We know these airbags only become more dangerous over time, which is why we are taking yet another step to get these parts out of our vehicles," said Claus Eberhart, Vice President of Aftersales of BMW North America. "Customers must park these vehicles immediately and take a few moments to check if their vehicle is safe for them and their family members to drive. Repairing these vehicles is quick, easy to arrange, and is completely free of charge."
BMW has already repaired about 87% of its models equipped with the recalled inflators thanks to a massive customer outreach program that included contacting them by phone, text, email, letters, postcards, and social media.
It also worked with its dealership network, collision centers, and even independent repair facilities to identify and repair affected vehicles. The necessary repair components are already available, and the repairs can be done remotely if owners prefer.
BMW is literally begging these 90,000 owners to contact them to schedule a time and place for the repair, which typically takes less than one hour.
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