Airbag recall: Inefficiencies at either BMW or their supplier?

Posted By on January 23, 2018


One wonders as to the legal responsibility of auto companies when "making a best effort" to correct the airbag issues in their customers’ cars? Are manufacturers held liable when using parts from their suppliers? 

Here’s a comparison: I took our 2006 Honda Pilot in a couple years ago after they notified me about the Takata Airbag Recall in cars they built. The correction by Honda was relatively quick and fixed with a minimum of hassles as soon as I received my recall postcard.


Currently it is believed that defects in “batwing” shaped wafers of Takata inflators allows moisture to infiltrate over time. This moisture modifies the chemical structure of the propellants. As a result the, propellants ignite too fast, causing the overreaction that ruptures the airbags and propels shrapnel into vehicle occupants. LINK

In contrast, BMW has been far less efficient in doing the same for my 2010 BMW X5 35d and suspect they knew of the problem but were not forced to implement a recall notice at the same time other car manufacturer did? Hence, I received my recall postcard in 2017 and called to schedule the airbag replacement. BMW of Cincinnati North took my call to schedule the replacement, but notified me that the BMWAirbagRecallparts required "were not in stock" and that "they would let me know when they were available" that was several months ago. Yesterday I received an email from them requesting

I called 513-802-9444 as requested and "Ask for the Recall Department" in order to schedule my appointment.  I was told there were  2 recalls (driver and passenger airbags) but they only had parts for the passenger airbag – the reason for the new email contact. I relayed my point of calling several months ago and that I was waiting for the recall parts; they indicated "those parts are unavailable." I asked for clarification … "not available now at the dealership or not available to BMW in order to fix my vehicle?" She assured me that when they became available I would receive a call letting me know.

My question and concern is "How long does a manufacturer have to correct this problem and is BMW alone in "sluggishly" supplying the appropriate parts to their dealers for recalls? Where is the urgency or are they not being held liable for injury … therefore not really expediting the process in getting older vehicles fixed? This could come back to bite them.

EDIT An additional Question: How does BMW fix airbags after a collision if the "parts are not available?"


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