A red 2012 VW Beetle

Volkswagen is recalling 105,652 Beetle coupes and convertibles from the 2012 through 2014 model years to replace potentially dangerous Takata driver-side airbags that may rupture during deployment and spray metal fragments that could injure or kill vehicle occupants.

The campaign is the latest chapter in the massive Takata airbag recall, and part of an agreement between Volkswagen and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in which the automaker will replace Takata airbags in phases through 2025.

Learn more about the agreement that led to this recall.

The specific driver-side airbags installed in the recalled Beetles don't currently pose an unreasonable risk to vehicle occupants, according to documents provided by NHTSA, but testing shows they may become more dangerous as they age. As a result, Volkswagen is replacing the airbags now before they become a more serious safety concern. So far, there have not been any crashes or injuries related to these specific airbags.

The airbags in these and other vehicles have a slightly different design than the earlier Takata airbags that are part of an ongoing recall campaign that NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” Takata airbags installed in a variety of vehicle models from 19 different automakers have caused at least 25 deaths and 300 injuries worldwide so far.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: Volkswagen Beetle coupes manufactured from Feb. 17, 2011, through July 3, 2014. And Volkswagen Beetle convertibles manufactured from Dec. 29, 2011, through July 2, 2014.

The problem: Over time, the propellant in the driver-side airbag inflator could degrade due to exposure to high humidity and temperatures. If this occurs, the inflator could explode if the airbag deploys.

The fix: Dealerships will replace the airbags with new units that feature a different design free of charge.

How to contact the manufacturer: Volkswagen will contact owners of affected vehicles via first-class mail starting in February. Owners may also contact VW at 800-822-8987.

NHTSA campaign number: 20V785. Volkswagen’s own number for this recall is 69BC.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly.

 

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