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.