Deadly Takata airbags are suspected of killing a second Australian BMW driver, pending an investigation into the fatal incident.
BMW in Australia has already begun a voluntary recall of BMW E46 3 Series cars, produced between November 1997 and June 2000, following safety authorities’ recent identification of a pattern of abnormal airbag deployments involving BMW cars in Australia, Japan and the US.
At this stage, the ACCC, Department of Infrastructure and BMW have declined to say where or when the fatality occurred, or release any details relating to the driver.
The new development follows the death of Sydney man Huy Neng Ngo who died when the airbag in his Honda ruptured in July 2017, and a 21-year-old woman who suffered serious injuries when the airbag in her Toyota failed in the Northern Territory in April 2017.
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.
If a vehicle with an affected airbag is involved in a collision, the airbag inflator could rupture, causing sharp metal fragments to enter the vehicle cabin at high speed and potentially killing or injuring vehicle occupants.
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.
Vehicles will be either towed to the place of inspection or a mobile technician will come to inspect the vehicle at the consumer’s home or the vehicle’s location.
If the vehicle does contain an affected airbag, BMW will offer to arrange a loan or hire car or reimbursement for alternative transportation costs until parts are available for airbag replacement, or until other arrangements can be made. Alternatively, the consumer may discuss the vehicle being purchased by BMW.
The airbags are Takata NADI (non-azide driver inflator) type 5AT airbags and are not part of the current Takata airbag compulsory recall.
“Because of the critical level of risk, the ACCC urges people to stop driving their vehicle immediately and to contact BMW to arrange to have their vehicle inspected as soon as possible,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“BMW will arrange to tow your vehicle to repair facilities for inspection, or send a mobile technician out to your premises or vehicle’s location to inspect the vehicle.”
“If your vehicle has been fitted with one of these dangerous airbags, BMW will arrange a loan or hire car or reimbursement for alternative transportation costs until airbag replacement parts are available or until other arrangements are made. You may also wish to discuss the vehicle being purchased back by BMW.”
Consumers who are unsure of whether they are affected by this recall can use the BMW VIN look-up tool at recall.bmw.com.au