2006 BMW 3-Series 325CiEnlarge Photo
Yesterday, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan added nearly three million vehicles to a growing list of cars recalled for faulty airbags. (For those keeping score at home, that brought the worldwide total to about 10.5 million.)
The airbags were made by Takata in the early 2000s and contain a faulty propellant, meaning that they can deploy irregularly. There are at least eight reports of bags exploding and two associated deaths.
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As expected, BMW, Chrysler, and Ford have now added some of their vehicles to the long recall list. Judging from the bulletins issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speculation that Takata's airbag failures might be linked to high humidity seems accurate.
What's unusual, though, is the incompleteness of the bulletins. Typically, when NHTSA issues a recall, it lists the various makes and models affected, as well as a total number of vehicles recalled. While Ford's bulletin contains all that data, BMW's doesn't indicate how many U.S. vehicles are affected, and Chrysler's doesn't even offer a list of makes and models.
It appears that NHTSA has rushed these recall bulletins onto the web, likely because of the severity of the problem and the danger it poses to vehicle occupants. As with Honda and Mazda, we expect these blanks to be filled in later. Here's what we know so far:
NHTSA states that BMW is recalling select models "currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and equipped with Takata-brand air bag inflators". The recall list includes:
BMW says that it will begin issuing recall notices to owners this August. If you have questions in the meantime, you're encouraged to call BMW Customer Relations at 800-525-7417.
Chrysler's recall bulletin provides very little information, other than to say that the recall affects "vehicles originally sold or currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and equipped with Takata-brand air bag inflators". Based on what we've seen from other automakers, we assume that the recall will be limited to vehicles from the 2000 to 2006 or 2007 model years, but at this point, that's just an educated guess.
Chrysler hasn't told NHTSA when it plans to send recall notices to owners, either. Given the potential danger these airbags pose, we'd be surprised if the company didn't act soon, though.
If you own a Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle from the early part of this century and have questions, we suggest you contact Chrysler customer service at 800-853-1403.
As with the other recalls listed here, Ford's affects vehicles that were sold or registered in warmer parts of the U.S. -- specifically, "Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands". The recall includes:
NHTSA notes that the airbag problem affects passenger-side airbags in the Ranger, driver-side airbags in the Mustang, and both sets of airbags in the GT. All told, 58,669 vehicles are affected.
Ford hasn't issued a timeline for the recall. If you own one of the vehicles and have questions, you can call Ford directly at 800-392-3673 and ask about recall #14B04.
We'll updated this post with additional details as they become available.