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BMW Incurs $3 Million NHTSA Penalty

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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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Pavement   February 16, 2012 11:31 AM
My wife's 2009 F650GS has been recalled at least twice and had recall fixes performed at virtually every service. The dealer has been good about performing these services and a loaner bike is always offered free of charge. The bike has never left her stranded in 25,000 miles and still runs strong with 55+mpg. Overall, her experience with BMW has been good and we expect to get at least another 25,000 miles out of the bike prior to replacement.
spokes   February 15, 2012 01:15 PM
this is news? all manufacturers have recalls, perhaps you people remember one for toyotas recently, how many of you drive toyotas? anybody here drive a saturn? a ford explorer? a saab? I'm sure we have all had problems with cars and bikes that weren't recall issues too. I know I've had my share, had some successes too. had a 2000 triumph sprint that blew a rod out the side of the case at 11000 miles, junked it. on the other side, I'm still driving a '97 buick lesabre with 181000 miles on it and gets 18 city, 30 highway mpg. hope to take it to 250000 miles. remember if it's got tits or tires it's going to give you trouble sooner or later.
wildpig   February 15, 2012 11:55 AM
rucuss --youre exactly right an the other post from the bmw fan -- heres the deal bmw has never admitted any componet failue -- hell they tried to hush the ews failure...... bmw admits -- nothing.
Rucuss54   February 15, 2012 10:31 AM
Extended warranties are offered by the Japanese brands at extra cost, but they are not needed. BMW and Ducati need to give long warranties to customers because there is some scepticism about quality.
MikeInGa   February 15, 2012 10:06 AM
Certainly everyone's experience will be different. I'm a BMW fan. Have had two motorcycles and two cars. The motorcycles are among my favorites and I sold both for more than I paid for them. Both cars were bought used. There was a recall on one, the dealer offered a courtesy car without me asking and the issue was fixed promptly. My '97 318IS has 178,000 miles and still gets 33 MPG. What's not to like?
philthy_utah   February 15, 2012 08:51 AM
Wow, judging by the comments, there seem to be quite a few Beemer-haters out there. Everyone has their opinion, but this issue has less to do with overall quality, warranty, or building "crap", it's simply not fessing up to particular design flaws/recalls (all manufacturers have them) in a timely manner. Ask many GS owners about shaft drive failures. It took BMW way to long to admit (if you can call it admitting) there were any problems.
guambra2001   February 14, 2012 06:00 PM
BMW has awesome reliability, that is why they are the ONLY ones to offer a 3 year 36K mike warranty. No one else in the motorcycle industry does that, most Japanese manufactures offer a 12 month and European offer a two year warranty. If there products are such crap, why would they offer such a good warranty? And you think BMW is the only manufacturer to have recalls? Don't think so.
wildpig   February 14, 2012 05:16 PM
wow i see the moderators are hard at work censoring my posts-- fact is bmw has major issues and has been fined an bmw has agreed to the fine -- censor that how bout it.
wildpig   February 14, 2012 05:02 PM
wonderful -- could'nt have happened to a more deserving company bmw is one over rated over expensive next to nothing re sale value with NO PARTS OR DEALER NETWORK TO SPEAK OF... i think it's great.. the truth is coming oput about bmw -- a problematic line of bikes that no amount of money can clean up the reputation..... reliability------ aint happenin
Piglet2010   February 14, 2012 03:56 PM
German quality? Maybe will have to get a Kawasaki KLR650 instead of a BMW G650GS Sertao, eh?
Superbikemike   February 14, 2012 01:13 PM
play by the rules or keep your products outta this country, NO excuse.. and i own one of there products... no room putting the public @ risk