The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been baring its teeth at automakers more and more over safety issues, and today BMW North America joined the ranks of Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Takata to get hit with penalties.
NHTSA officials announced BMW will face $40 million in fines and other penalties for failing to issue a timely recall for the 2014 and 2015 Mini Cooper.
Here’s the sordid story, according to NHTSA: the 2014 Cooper failed a side-impact crash test that year. BMW responded by saying the car was weighed incorrectly; it would pass the test in the correct weight class and with additional side-impact protection, BMW said. So the automaker agreed to a service campaign that would do just that.
Alas, NHTSA said, BMW didn’t do the service campaign it agreed to, and the Cooper once again failed the test this year. Other safety reporting violations were found as well in a subsequent investigation.
Not cool, BMW! Unfortunately this is the second time in several years the automaker has been in hot water with NHTSA for not doing recalls promptly; it faced a fine in 2012 for similar issues.
In a statement today, NHTSA said this:
Under the Consent Order, BMW acknowledges that it failed to recall the noncompliant vehicles in a timely fashion. It also acknowledges additional violations discovered in NHTSA’s investigation, including failing in multiple recalls since its 2012 consent order to notify owners and dealers of recalls in a timely fashion and to provide required quarterly recall completion reports on time.
“The requirement to launch recalls and inform consumers in a timely fashion when a safety defect or noncompliance is discovered is fundamental to our system for protecting the traveling public. This is a must-do,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “For the second time in three years, BMW has been penalized for failing to meet that obligation. The company must take this opportunity to reform its procedures and its culture to put safety where it belongs: at the top of its priority list.”
BMW owes $10 million today and must spend another $10 million to meet new orders from NHTSA; if it fails to comply or has other safety violations, it must pay $20 million.
If you own one of the new Coopers, make sure it gets fixed.
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