BMW has announced that it will be recalling 622,000 SUVs worldwide due to potential problems with the child seat anchors in the vehicles. According to the report, these anchors may become damaged over time and therefore do not secure the seat properly. The models included in the recall are certain X3 SUV models including the xDrive 28i, xDrive28i, and xDrive35i model years 2011 through 2017, as well as X4 SUV models including the xDrive 28d, xDrive28i, xDrive35i, and xDriveM40i model years 2015 through 2017. There are about 189,000 vehicles being recalled in the U.S. alone. Documents posted on Tuesday June 14 by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explained that anchor bars for child seats in the SUVs could become damaged when people use European-style child seats. Therefore, most owners of the affected models in the U.S. do not experience issues because typically they use child seats with flexible Latch connectors, which do not cause the problem.
BMW originally discovered the problem with anchor bars in March when a customer in Europe reported a damaged anchor. The report stated that an unoccupied child seat moved sideways when the 2011 BMW X3 vehicle made a turn. The owner discovered that this was due to damage on one of the lower anchor bars. Two more similar reports were also presented to BMW, both from Europe. Upon investigation, more anchor bar claims were discovered, where one instance included the anchor bar completely breaking. In its recall summary, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated, “The affected vehicles have lower anchor bars for securing child-restraint seats that may become damaged when using the European-Isofix-type rigid-style connector child-restraint system.” NHTSA also noted that these damaged anchor bars could increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash. BMW said that it is not aware of any injuries or fatalities related to problems included in the recall. To solve the problem, dealers will fuse a reinforcing bracket to the lower anchor bars at no charge to owners. This recall is expected to start July 12, 2016
This recall comes shortly after a more serious recall of BMW models containing Takata airbags. The NHSTA stated, “in the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front airbags, these [Takata] inflators may rupture due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity and temperature cycling.” When these airbag inflators rupture, metal fragments can be expelled into the cabin of the vehicle, often causing severe injuries, and in some cases, death. Most recently, BMW X5/X6 models from 2007-2011 have been recalled for potential front airbag issues. Thankfully, there have been no reports of anyone being harmed in the BMW X5s due to the airbags. Still, it is estimated that 91,806 BMW X5s and X6s will be recalled in total. These consecutive recalls do not make for good business for BMW. However, BMW does state that it would rather remove any possibility of risk to its passengers, no matter how small. Although these recalls are inconvenient, they can potentially prevent serious injury or even death.