BMW Expands Mini Cooper Recall Due To Airbag Sensor Mat Issue

BMW Group of North America is expanding their current recall to include older Mini Cooper models.

Left Lane News is reporting that this is the third time BMW Group and Mini Cooper have altered this recall. At issue is the airbag sensor mat, which is part of the occupant classification system. This system is supposed to automatically detect whether the front seat passenger is an adult or a child. If an adult is improperly detected, the airbag may deactivate and not properly protect the passenger. The sensor is having issues because of manufacturing, installation, or field exposure issues, causing the sensor housing to crack and malfunction.

The original issue concerned only BMW cars because the sensor mat in the Mini Coopers is substantially different. That first recall affected 320,000 BMW cars in 2008. An investigation into the Mini Cooper cars in 2014 led to an alteration of the recall to include most Mini Coopers. This latest revelation will affect Mini Coopers and Cooper S models.

BMW Group claims to have received one report of possible minor injury relating to the Mini Cooper issue at hand, which they have forwarded to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA). This latest campaign affects over 91,800 Mini Cooper vehicles, including model year 2005-2006 Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S manufactured between January 2005 and November 2006, totalling 59,270 vehicles, and model year 2005-2008 Mini Cooper Convertibles and Cooper S Convertibles made between January 2005 and July 2008, totalling 32,530 vehicles.

BMW is estimating that 10 percent of the recalled cars are actually affected by the issue.

Dealers began replacing the sensor mats May 1, but will not give an extended warranty for the issue.

The Milwaukee Business Journal is reporting that the seats that hold the sensor are partially manufactured by a German arm of Johnson Controls, Inc., one of the largest producers of automotive interiors in the world. Johnson Controls does not, however, install the sensor into the seat.

Frances Engerman, a spokesperson for Johnson Controls, based in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, said, “We are committed to the highest standards and quality during the manufacturing process. We will work with our customer BMW to address this issue.”

Engerman also reiterated that Johnson Controls manufacture the seats but do not manufacture the sensor.

Owners may contact Mini customer service at 1-866-825-1525. Mini owners should wait until they receive notice from the car manufacturer. However, if there are any questions, feel free to contact a dealer or Mini customer service as soon as possible.

[Image courtesy of Mini Cooper Australia]