About 6000 E46 3 Series in South Africa are affected by the Takata airbag recall.

BMW SA has confirmed that about 6000 3 Series (E46) cars, built between December 2001 and March 2003, are among the 220 000 BMW's worldwide affected by a huge recall of airbags made by a Japanese supplier.

Faulty airbags made by the Takata company sparked a recall several weeks ago of more than three million cars made by Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda. A Takata spokesman warned at the time that BMW cars could also be affected.

BMW SA spokesman Edward Makwana said there was a risk that the airbag would not inflate sufficiently in an accident. He pointed out, however, that BMW hadn't heard of a single incident of this kind anywhere in the world - they were told about the problem by Takata.

“It will be done free, and will take about an hour.”

He said BMW would be contacting all locally affected customers to have the passenger-side airbag replaced at their nearest dealer.

"But because we're dealing with cars more than 10 years old in some cases, which may have had several owners by now, it's important that people who think their cars may be affected contact the BMW customer care centre on 0800 600 555, so we can make sure we have the correct information for their car.

"Remember, this is just a precautionary action - you can carry on driving your BMW until you're able to book it in for the airbag swop.”