BMW 7 Series probe: regulators find 16 crashes, 5 injuries image

United States safety regulators have found 16 crashes and five injuries in an eight-month investigation of transmission control problems with BMW 7-Series luxury vehicles.

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) began the probe in August and has now upgraded it to an engineering analysis, which is a step closer to a recall. However the cars have not been recalled.

The investigation covers nearly 122,000 BMWs from the 2002 through 2008 model years.

The BMW 7 Series sedans are those from the 2002–8 model years equipped with an electronic transmission shifter with a small gear selector mounted on the steering column. The shifter is designed to automatically shift the vehicle to park under a variety of conditions, including after the driver has pressed the ignition button to turn the engine off.

Sometimes the owners may think the cars are in park when they actually are in neutral.

NHTSA said data from BMW include field reports describing additional rollaway incidents in similarly equipped 2002 through 2008 BMW 7-Series vehicles.

BMW and investigators have received 50 complaints about the problem.