BMW Incurs $3 Million NHTSA Penalty

February 14, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

BMW North America will pay $3 million in civil penalties after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed the German manufacturer noncompliant in reporting safety defects. At issue is the timeliness with which BMW reported vehicle safety defects to the NHTSA.
2011 BMW R1200GS
BMW North American has agreed to pay $3 million in civil penalties after the NHTSA reports the German manufacturer noncompliant with several 2010 vehicle recalls.

The NHTSA announced on Friday, February 10, 2012, that it reached a settlement with BMW. The federal agency asserts that BMW was noncompliant with provisions established in the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Specifically, the NHTSA claims that BMW did not report known safety defects within the five days required by the Safety Act.

“It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that defects and recalls are reported in short order,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in the NHTSA press announcement. “NHTSA expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner.”

The settlement affects a series of 16 recalls in 2010. An NHTSA investigation examining those 16 recalls began in December 2010 and “found evidence of a number of instances where the automaker failed to report safety defects to the agency in accordance with federal law.”

In reviewing the 16 recall reports from BMW NHTSA investigators noted that critical information was missing or incomplete. For example of the 16 recall reports “in only six was it [BMW] able to tell the agency the number of vehicles affected by the defect or noncompliance and expected to be recalled. In only five recalls reports was BMW able to supply any chronology of principal events, and only one of these five chronologies met the bare minimum for such a chronology.”

NHTSA documentation goes on to state that upon reviewing updates on the recalls “it has taken BMW over 30 days, on average, to provide required information, including such fundamental information as population figures.”

BMW will pay its $3 million penalty in a single lump sum payment to the U.S. Treasury within 30 days. BMW has also agreed “to make internal changes to its recall decision-making process to ensure timely reporting to consumers and the federal government in the future.” 

Of the 16 recalls at issue, seven affect BMW Motorcycles (list below):

Recall Number: 10 V 273 000
Date: 15-JUN-2010
Models: 2007-2008 G650 X Country, G650 X Challenge and G650 X Moto
Subject: Roll Gear Pin Mounting Attachment
Potentially Defective: 1,807

Recall Number: 10 V 274 000
Date: 15-JUN-2010
Models: 2008-2009 F650GS and F800GS
Subject: Drive Chain Can Break
Potentially Defective: 1,916

Recall Number: 10 V 275 000
Date: 15-JUN-2010
Models: 2005-2007 R1200GS ADVENTURE
Subject: Fuel Tank Attachment Bolts
Potentially Defective: 2,070

Recall Number: 10 V 276 000
Date: 15-JUN-2010
Models: 2007-2009 R1200 and K1200
Subject: Front Brake Lines
Potentially Defective: 15,532

Recall Number: 10 V 328 000
Date: 19-JUL-2010
Models: 2005-2009 R1200RT Police
Subject: Audible Signaling Device Bracket
Potentially Defective: 1,900

Recall Number: 10 V 488 000
Date: 08-OCT-2010
Models: 2005-2011 Motorcycles
Subject: Rear Wheel Linkage
Potentially Defective: 11,826

Recall Number: 10 V 496 000
Date: 14-OCT-2010
Models: 2008-2010 F650GS
Subject: Front Disc Brake Fasteners
Potentially Defective: 1,780

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