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BMW to recall 1.6 million cars worldwide for air bag concerns


(Reuters) — German automaker BMW Group on Wednesday said it is recalling about 1.6 million cars worldwide to replace passenger-side front airbags made by Takata Corp. because the inflators could break apart during deployment and injure passengers.

The recall affects 3-Series vehicles produced between May 1999 and August 2006.

While BMW is still taking part in a regional recall requested by U.S. safety regulators, BMW spokesman Dave Buchko said it decided to recall all of the model year 2000 through 2006 cars potentially affected by the issue. The regional recall requested in June by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covered both passenger- and driver-side front air bags.

The recall is an extension of last year's recall of 240,000 cars globally for the same issue.

"As a precaution, we just feel now that the right thing to do is just to bring them all in and replace the passenger-side air bag," Mr. Buchko said.

The air bags were supplied by Japan's Takata, which has seen more than 12 million vehicles recalled over the past five years for related issues.

Also affected by the regional recall were Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries-owned Subaru, Mitsubishi, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Chrysler brand.

Subaru's recall of almost 9,000 cars was national from the start, while Honda's regional recall hit more states than NHTSA had requested.

A spokesman for Nissan said a decision for a broader recall has not been made yet and how many cars in the designated regions were affected was still being determined. A Mitsubishi spokesman said there was no change in status as the issue was still being investigated.

A Mazda spokesman said the automaker would decide whether to expand the regional campaign after its engineers evaluated the air bag inflators already recalled. A Toyota spokeswoman said the company has not expanded the recall.

A Chrysler spokesman said the automaker is still investigating the issue, which potentially affects about 298,000 older vehicles in the four regions NHTSA designated.

Ford said its position has not changed and it is cooperating with safety officials. It previously said the regional recall affected 58,669 vehicles.

NHTSA officials and Honda could not immediately be reached.

BMW is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue in its cars, Mr. Buchko said. The cars previously recalled are not part of this campaign, BMW said.

In the latest recall, about 574,000 of the affected cars were sold in the United States, about 450,000 in Germany and about 189,000 in the United Kingdom. Last year, BMW recalled 42,000 cars in the United States for this issue.

In addition, BMW said it has also recalled 26 Mini cars and one BMW i3 from model year 2014 to replace Takata passenger-side air bags. BMW said these are not part of the larger recall.