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BMW recalls SUVs for instrument panels that could hinder airbag deployments

The fault comes from a manufacturing error at the supplier.

In the meantime, just don't hit stuff.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Automakers rely on a variety of suppliers for many parts inside their vehicles, and occasionally, a freak occurrence at one of those suppliers can be serious enough to warrant a recall.

BMW has issued a recall for 50 examples of certain variants of the 2019 X3 and 2019 X4. Only 36 X3 variants are involved, covering the sDrive30i, xDrive30i and M40i, carrying production dates of March 19 and 20, 2019. The remaining 14 vehicles were X4 M40i variants built in the same two-day span.

The problem stems from the instrument panel. According to the report filed with NHTSA, a supplier error during a lamination process resulted in panels containing adhesive not specified for the intended purpose. This creates the possibility that the cover over the passenger front airbag might not work as intended in a crash, potentially hindering airbag deployment and increasing the risk of injury.

BMW found out about this problem from the supplier itself, which admitted that there may have been an error in production. BMW went to work identifying which vehicles might have the potentially faulty instrument panels, and the automaker then conducted a voluntary recall based on the information it gathered. Thankfully, it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this defect.

The remedy is about as simple as it can be. Once recalled vehicles have been returned to dealerships, technicians will swap out the faulty instrument panels with correctly bonded pieces. As with all recalls, the job will be performed free of charge, and since the new-vehicle warranty is in effect for all recalled vehicles, there won't be a reimbursement program in place, as nobody should have paid for a repair in the first place. Owners should expect to receive recall notifications in the mail in early June.