BMW Tells 12,000+ Australian 3-Series Owners To “Stop Driving Your Car Immediately”

BMW Australia has issued an urgent recall that impacts over 12,000 3-Series (E46) cars built between November 1997 and June 2000.

BMW says owners of the affected vehicles “must stop driving” immediately and contact their dealership to arrange an inspection. The recall is so urgent that BMW published a 254 page PDF listing every effected VIN and noted the recall does not appear in the company’s online lookup tool.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says recall was sparked by a Takata airbag that “poses a critical risk of death or serious injury to vehicle occupants.” While the dangers of certain Takata airbags have been known for years, the agency said safety authorities in Australia, Japan and United States have identified a different type of airbag that poses a significant risk to drivers.

Also Read: Recalled Takata Airbag Kills Driver In Arizona, Brings Death Toll To 24

These airbags were installed in the 3-Series and their airbag inflator can rupture if a vehicle is involved in a collision. This can send “sharp metal fragments” into the cabin and these can potentially kill or injure occupants.

The ACCC confirmed they are investigating two recent suspected misdeployments in Australia. One was tragically fatal, while the other caused a serious injury.

Given the seriousness of the issue, authorities aren’t messing around. Vehicles will be towed to an inspection site or visited by a mobile technician who will examine them where they sit.

If technicians confirm the vehicle is equipped with one of the affected airbags, BMW will “arrange a loan or hire car or reimbursement for alternative transportation” until an airbag replacement is available. The ACCC even noted owners “may discuss the vehicle being purchased by BMW.”  This might be the best option as some reports have suggested parts might not be available for up to 18 months.

In a statement to The Sydney Morning Herald, BMW Australia said “BMW has decided to voluntarily conduct a safety recall in Australia because, based on what we know so far, a particular batch of Takata airbags may not function entirely correctly due to a manufacturing defect.” The company added “We are taking immediate steps to prevent the affected vehicles from being driven and implementing measures to minimize inconvenience to owners of those vehicles by providing alternative means of transportation.”

  • Dennis James

    Still looks to me like one of the best BMW cars ever, both the timeless exterior and also the interior which still looks modern and high-quality.

    • Seats & a steering wheel

      E46’s are notoriously bad cars as the age. Faulty airbags are the least of their problems.

      • Subi-Rubicon1

        Not according to this report. All else is subject. IMO.

      • Dennis James

        Everyone knows that’s not true, because you can see them on the road daily and by the dozens in every country.

  • TAKATA IS ONE OF THE ALL TIME SCUM BAG COMPANIES THAT HAS SQUATTED OVER JUST ABOUT EVERY MANUFACTURER IN THE INDUSTRY.

    • What do you expect when…

      True say.

      Though it’s worth remembering that any 20yr old airbag from the 90’s is already long past it’s recommended lifespan anyway. They really should be a compulsory replacement service item at lifespan end.

      • YES I AGREE, THEY MORE THAN LIKELY DO NEED TO BE REPLACED ON A REGULAR BASIS BUT THAT DOESN’T EXCUSE THE HAVOC THAT TAKATA HAS CAUSED.

  • Dennis James

    Everyone knows that you see many more e46 BMW cars on the road compared to the “reliable” Japanese cars built during the same years, or even compared to VW cars built during the same years. I can see one VW Golf 4 like once a month, while I can see 5 BMW e46 every day.

The Contender XG Is A G-Wagen With An SLK Body – And It Is Going For $540k!

This odd creation uses the body-on-frame chassis and mechanicals of the old G-Wagen and a modded SLK bodywork.

Audi RS3 And Seat Leon Cupra R ST ABT Take On The Mercedes-AMG G63

Did the beastly AMG G63 beat a tuned Leon Cupra R ST and a stock RS3 Sportback? .

Mercedes 190E EVO II Gets Digital Revamp With New AMG Parts

Despite dating back to the 1990s, the 190E Evo II is one of Germany’s most iconic sports sedans.

This Volvo V70 R Is A Fast, No-Nonsense Wagon – And It Might Have More Than 300 HP

This 2005 V70 R boasts a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five with some mods and a six-speed manual.

BMW X8 M45e PHEV Rumored, 750 HP X8 M Might Join The Party

Both versions of the X8 would be plug-in hybrids, with the M being focuses on performance.

Tesla To Start Building Its European Gigafactory Next Year

Tesla wants the new plant to be up and running by 2021, with the Model Y the first model to be produced .

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Electric SUV Shows Up In Real Life Photos

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer up to 300 miles (483 km) of driving range.

Forza Italia: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Drag Races Lamborghini Urus

Can the smaller, less powerful and lighter Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio beat the 641 HP Lamborghini Urus?.

Range Rover Hunter Doubles As A Sports Car And An Off-Roader

This eye-catching Range Rover concept features an advanced suspension that would allow it to play both roles.

Someone Paid $65k For A BMW E30 325i, Albeit A Rather Nice One

This 325i has just 6,794 miles, but still, $65k is too much for a non-M3 Bimmer.