BMW agrees to pay $3 million fine to U.S. auto safety regulators
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- BMW North America will pay a $3 million fine to settle U.S. government allegations it failed to promptly notify regulators about potential safety defects.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday that BMW agreed to the civil penalty stemming from 16 recall investigations in 2010 that found a number of violations.
"NHTSA expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in a statement.
According to U.S. law, auto manufacturers have five business days to notify NHTSA of any vehicle defects.
NHTSA said BMW failed on multiple occasions to timely report problems in certain motorcycle and vehicle models.
BMW North America and its parent, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, agreed to address internal recall decision making to ensure that any future problems are reported to the U.S. government and consumers, NHTSA said.
The fine is the first since Toyota Motor Corp. agreed in December 2010 to pay $32.4 million to settle two federal investigations of whether the company notified regulators of safety defects in a timely fashion.
Toyota also agreed to a fine of $16.4 million in April 2010 to settle a similar probe. Altogether, the Japanese automaker paid $48.8 million to NHTSA for civil penalties in 2010.
Each of the three fines against Toyota was the maximum permitted under federal law at the time the alleged violations occurred.
And they dwarf safety penalties paid by any other automaker over the years.
PRESS RELEASE: BMW to Pay $3 Million in Civil Penalties for Untimely Reporting of 2010 Recalls
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that BMW of North America, LLC has agreed to pay $3 million in civil penalties in response to the agency's assertion that the automaker failed to comply with requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act that it report safety defects and noncompliances to the federal government in a timely manner.
"It's critical to the safety of the driving public that defects and recalls are reported in short order," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "NHTSA expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner."
Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect or noncompliance exists and to promptly conduct a recall. NHTSA's examination of 16 BMW recalls issued in 2010 found evidence of a number of instances where the automaker failed to report safety defects and recalls to the agency in accordance with federal law. As part of today's settlement, BMW of North America, LLC and its parent company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG agreed to make internal changes to its recall decision-making process to ensure timely reporting to consumers and the federal government in the future.
In December 2010, NHTSA launched an investigation to determine when BMW first learned of defects and noncompliances related to several motorcycle and vehicle recalls and whether the company notified NHTSA in a timely manner. NHTSA's investigation led the agency to believe that BMW had not fulfilled its obligation to report a known safety defect within five days, as is required under the law. The fines will be paid into the Treasury Department's General Fund.Contact Automotive News