BMW North America to pay $3mln for late notice of safety defects image

BMW North America has agreed to pay $3 million in fines following allegations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the automaker failed to report certain vehicle safety problems to the agency in a timely manner.

It’s NHTSA’s second-largest penalty since at least 1999, according to agency records.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said an examination of 16 recalls issued by BMW North America in 2010 found evidence of a number of instances in which the automaker failed to report safety defects and recalls to the agency in accordance with federal law.

“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.”

Under federal law, automakers must notify the government within five business days of learning of a safety defect or a noncompliance issue and include relevant information.

A BMW spokesman said that in every case in which it found a defect, it conducted a recall. He also noted that all of the delayed-reporting cases except one involved BMW motorcycles.

The fines will be paid into the Treasury Department’s General Fund.