FRANKFURT, June 23 Germany's BMW Group
is analysing a limited number of its cars in Hawaii, Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands, it said on Monday, as part of a broader
investigation into the safety of air bags supplied by Japan's
BMW is examining the cars at the request of the U.S.-based
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is
determining whether Takata airbag inflators made after 2002 are
prone to failure in areas of high humidity.
Japanese carmakers including Honda Motor Co and
Nissan Motor Co on Monday recalled 2.9 million vehicles
globally over fears their Takata air bags were at risk of
exploding and shooting shrapnel at passengers and drivers.
A spokesman for BMW said Takata air bags had been installed
in BMW vehicles of the E46 3-series generation built between
June 2000 and August 2006. These are similar, but not identical,
to the airbags identified as being potentially problematic by
"It is not a safety recall, it is a special technical
campaign," the spokesman said, adding there were no known safety
incidents involving Takata air bags in BMW cars.
In a June 11 letter to the NHTSA, Takata said it would
support "regional campaigns" to replace certain driver-side air
bag inflators made between January 2004 and June 2007, as well
as certain passenger-side inflators made between June 2000 and
Takata said it believed these inflators were supplied to
BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota for
vehicles sold in the United States.
Takata said it would support the replacement of those
inflators in vehicles in high humidity areas of Puerto Rico,
Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.
In order to work, air bags need to inflate in less than half
the time it takes to blink an eye. That requires the use of
powerful and potentially dangerous explosives in inflators which
require careful handling and precise calibration.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)