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BMW warns owners to stop driving older models over air bag concerns

BMW warns owners to stop driving older models over air bag concerns
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BMW is warning owners of older models to stop driving because of concerns over the Takata air bag inflators, the company said in a statement this week.

An uncovered malfunction in the air bags can reportedly cause them to explode and unleash shrapnel, potentially killing and injuring people. Takata filed a safety defect report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

BMW has filed three safety defect recalls, the NHTSA said in a statement to The Hill.

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More than 116,000 vehicles made from 1999 to 2001 are being recalled, BMW said in a statement to The Hill. At least 8,000 should not be driven until fixed, the NHTSA statement said.

The recalled vehicles include certain sedans created between March 1998 and July 2000, specific coupes from February 1999 to June 2000 and certain sports wagons between September 1999 and May 2000.

BMW said it is working on resolving the issue but plans to replace the malfunctioning inflators with new ones and let owners know when parts are in. 

An Australian driver was reportedly killed because of a faulty air bag, while another Australian and a driver in Cyprus were injured, according to government documents obtained by The Associated Press. The air bag deteriorates over time when it is in contact with moisture, causing it to explode too fast and sometimes not fully inflate. 

Some Audi, Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles made between 1995 and 2000 also are being recalled. About 1.4 million vehicles are affected by the recalls, the NHTSA said in a statement.

The administration also said in its statement that it was discussing the recalls with automakers and that owners should check the NHTSA website in the next few weeks to determine if their vehicles are being recalled.

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Safety regulators told the AP that the only Mitsubishi vehicle impacted was the 1998 through 2000 Montero.

Mitsubishi told The Hill in a statement that the company has not received quality reports on the recall and is currently identifying which models are involved.

Chris Martin, a spokesperson for Honda, said the company is analyzing the potential impact on vehicles made between 1996 and 2000 that may have had the air bags originally. He said it is "too early in this process to draw any conclusions or to provide further model details."

Audi said it is cooperating with the NHTSA and reviewing whether certain vehicles from 1997 to 1999 are affected by the airbag recall.

Nineteen auto companies are recalling about 70 million inflators across the U.S. in the largest series of automotive recalls in the country's history, according to the AP.

Updated on Thursday at 10:04 a.m.