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BMW Fined with $40 million by NHTSA over MINI Recall Violations

BMW is facing fines and other penalties from the NHTSA worth $40 million for failing to issue a recall on time for the 2014 and 2015 MINI Cooper.
Mini Cooper 1 photo
The problem started with a crash test that was failed by a MINI Cooper in October 2014. At the time, the brand’s representatives responded that the vehicle was listed with an incorrect weight and would’ve passed the test if it had been conducted at the proper weight rating.

MINI officials agreed to do a recall to correct the stated weight rating on the vehicle’s Tire Information Plaque and to start a voluntary service campaign to add additional side-impact protection.

The NHTSA then tested the MINI Cooper in July 2015 for the 2015 model year, at the new weight rating and with the extra side-impact protection. The vehicle failed this second test as well.

The issue that caused the fines and penalties issued by the NHTSA was that the safety organization discovered that BMW didn’t launch the service campaign it had agreed to.

Under a Consent Order, BMW acknowledged that it failed to recall the noncompliant vehicles in a timely fashion. The German carmaker also admitted supplementary violations discovered during NHTSA’s investigation.

These include failing to notify owners and dealers of recalls within a reasonable time frame in the case of several recalls since its 2012 consent order. BMW also failed to provide the NHTSA with the required quarterly recall completion reports on time. The 2015 penalty from the NHTSA is BMW’s second since 2012.

Out of the $40 million civil penalties issued by the NHTSA to BMW, $10 million is due in cash. The order also requires the German company to spend at least $10 million in meeting the order’s performance obligations. Moreover, the carmaker will also have to pay $20 million in deferred penalties that will come due if BMW AG fails to comply with the NHTSA’s Order or commits other safety violations.

Furthermore, BMW must retain an NHTSA-approved independent safety consultant to help it develop better practices for complying with NHTSA Regulations. Naturally, BMW will have to submit those reports to the NHTSA.

Under the same consultant’s guidance, BMW must evaluate all safety and/or compliance related problems under the company’s review and provide the NHTSA with a monthly written report on those issues.

BMW’s obligations will also include launching a special program that will show whether the company can use data analytics to detect emerging safety-related defect trends.

The German company will have to establish a plan to deter BMW dealers from selling new vehicles with safety defects. This requirement stems from the fact that an NHTSA representative purchased a new car from a BMW dealer and the vehicle in question had an open safety recall during the safety organization’s ongoing investigation on the issue.

 Download attachment: BMW Consent Order (PDF)

press release

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