December 22, 2014 / 10:04 PM / 3 years ago

BMW expands Takata air bag recall to nationwide U.S.

DETROIT (Reuters) - BMW BMWG.DE on Monday said it has expanded a U.S. regional recall for certain vehicles with driver-side air bag inflators made by Takata Corp 7312.T to cover the entire country, following the lead of four rivals that have taken similar steps.

A BMW logo is pictured at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the New York International Auto Show in New York April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged the carmakers to broaden the recall beyond a limited area with high humidity and they have gradually followed suit.

Takata has said that extended exposure to high humidity could damage the propellant in the inflators, causing them to spray vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel when the air bags inflate.

The German luxury automaker said it told NHTSA that it will replace driver-side front air bags in about 140,000 BMW 3 Series vehicles in the U.S. from model years 2004 to 2006.

The carmakers who had previously expanded the recall are Honda Motor Co 7267.T, Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T, Ford Motor Co F.N, and FCA US LLC, which until last week was known as Chrysler Group LLC. FCA US is a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV FCHA.MI FCAU.N.

After initial incidents of improper driver-side air bag inflation occurred only in areas of high humidity, NHTSA limited the recall area. But when incidents were reported outside of that area that included Florida and Puerto Rico, the regulator decided to ask the five automakers to expand the recall.

BMW said none of its vehicles have been involved in improper airbag deployments.

Driver-side air bag inflator incidents have been linked to

at least five deaths.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Christian Plumb

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