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BMW is recalling 200,000 vehicles because a possible defect in the front passenger seat air bag sensor could prevent the safety device from properly deploying during an accident. The German car company is offering to replace the sensor device and extend warranty coverage on the affected parts for owners of all affected vehicles.
The recall, announced on Wednesday, affects BMW's model year 2006 3-series, model year 2004-2006 5-series, and model year 2004-2006 X3 vehicles. Affected vehicle owners should begin receiving recall notices from BMW in September, and will be entitled to have their vehicles serviced free of charge. In a statement released on Thursday, BMW of North America said that in the meantime, affected vehicles could still be driven, but advised owners to have their vehicles serviced immediately "if the air bag warning lamp and the passenger air bag 'on-off' lamp are illuminated simultaneously." The Associated Press reports that the problem was identified after BMW customers "alerted the company when they noticed that the air bag light indicated a deactivated air bag even when a passenger sat in the seat."