Vehicles these days are typically fitted with a mat in the front passenger seat that determines whether that airbag needs to be activated in the event of a collision and how it should deploy. But that system doesn't always work, as Mercedes recently found in its SL-Class roadster and as Suzuki did before it with the Grand Vitara and SX4 crossovers. Now a crop of BMW vehicles have befallen the same issue, prompting the Bavarian automaker to cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall for the vehicles in question.

The problem affects precisely 76,565 vehicles, including certain the 3 Series (sedan and wagon), 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 crossover families spanning the 2006 and 2007 model years and fitted with a certain type of seat. However, since the parts to repair the problematic components are not currently available, as you can see from the recall notice below, it won't be until March 2014 when local dealers will be able to resolve the issue.
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RECALL Subject : Front Seat Occupant Protection Mat

Report Receipt Date: NOV 12, 2013
NHTSA Campaign Number: 13V564000
Component(s): AIR BAGS
Potential Number of Units Affected: 76,565
Manufacturer: BMW of North America, LLC

BMW of North America LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2006 325i, 325xi, 330i, 330xi sedans and 325xi sports wagons, model year 2007 328i, 328xi, 335i, 335xi sedans and 328i and 328xi sports wagons, model year 2006-2007 525i, 525xi, 530i, 530xi, 550i sedans and 530xi sports wagons, model year 2006 760i sedans, model year 2006-2007 750i, 750Li, and 760Li sedans, and model year 2006 X5 sports activity vehicles, equipped with certain seat types. The front passenger seat occupant detection mat that determines if and how the passenger frontal air bag should deploy in a crash may fatigue and develop cracks which could lead to a system failure.

Should the system fail, in the event of a crash, the front passenger air bag would be deactivated, increasing the risk of personal injury.

BMW will notify owners with an interim notification letter in January 2014 since parts are not currently available. When parts are available, anticipated to be in March 2014, BMW will send a second letter and dealers will repair the occupant detection mat to eliminate the possibility that it may crack, free of charge. Additionally, owners of model year 2006-2007 3 Series with standard seats, 5 Series with comfort seats, and Z4 models, will receive an extended warranty on their front passenger seat occupant detection mat. Owners may contact BMW customer relations at 1-800-525-7417 or email BMW at

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should recall based on part numbers not models. I have the exact same seat mat that had to get replaced (over $1400) in my 06 Mini Cooper S (made by BMW). Just because enough models weren't sold, and subsequently failed, I'll most likely never get my money back..
        • 1 Year Ago
        I have an 06 Mini Cooper S with this exact issue, It is still currently broken. Last time I buy a BMW/Mini product ever.
      Ken Moriarty
      • 5 Months Ago

      I have the same issue with my 2006 x5 and I submitted a claim against them with the NHTSA. Here is the ODI Number 10638641

      A P
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can you imagine the lemming outrage if this issue was with an American car? The nasty comments about not being able to fix this issue would take up page after page. BUT since this is a BMW, the issue will be covered up as much as possible.
      • 1 Year Ago
      "calling in"? Can't have a BMW headline with the word "recall" in it, eh?
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's why it is called a BMTrouble uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
      • 9 Months Ago
      I have a 2007 750il with a failed airbag sensor in the passenger seat. BMW has a recall for this part on this model and year for the airbag sensor but when I took mine to the dealer to have it replaced they first said yes but I had to wait for the parts. When I returned 2 months later to the dealer they claimed "MY" serial # car was not covered, I called corporate and they informed me also that "MY" car was not covered by the recall. How can that be when BMW has a recall for the 2007 750 il for failing airbag sensors. I guess they claim they will repair the problem to the NHTSA but when you bring it in to be repaired they claim not your serial #.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just submitted a complaint regarding the front seat sensor mentioned here. I have a 2000 BMW 323, bought used with 77,000 miles on it. This problem is all over the internet; It's recognized by NHTSA for recall but only in certain 2006 models. Let''s keep after BMW to make good. It's a no brainer for them. Look what has happened to GM.
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's about time. My BMW currently has a failed mat sensor. I talked to BMW USA about it and they were no help. I reported this to the NTSB in writing. It has been an inconvenience because I am aware of the fact that the airbag may not deploy so the car is being used for solo trips right now. Would I purchase this car again? Heck yeah! A couple of miles on the highway reminds me every time why I put up with these little problems.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Front seat detection mat is sensitive to methane emissions/contamination.
      Ian R. Campbell
      • 1 Year Ago
      The X3 had the same issue - the recall got instituted earlier with a 10 year warranty extension. It's not surprising that these models are impacted as they are using the same component from the X3. (the OC3 occupancy detection mat).
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