BMW Fined $40 Million for Delaying Recall of Unsafe Mini Coopers

BMW Fined $40 Million for Delaying Recall of Unsafe Mini Coopers
Image: BMW
December 22, 2015

BMW is getting hit with a $40 million civil penalty for delaying a recall for Mini Coopers that failed to meet minimum crash protection requirements.

As part of the judgement imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), BMW will pay $10 million in cash, spend $10 million in meeting its safety obligations, and is required to put into place a series of policies and practices that ensures a similar situation doesn't happen again. The remaining $20 million will become due should BMW not fulfil the judgement terms.

The actions come after a NHTSA investigation that found that BMW failed to issue a recall within five days of learning that model year 2014 and 2015 Mini Coopers failed to meet minimum safety standards for side-impact crash protection.

BMW was hit in 2012 with a $3 million civil penalty for similar violations.

In October 2014 the Mini Cooper 2-Door Hardtop failed a crash test to determine whether the vehicle met crash-protection minimums. BMW responded that the vehicle was listed with an incorrect weight and would pass the test if conducted at the proper weight rating. The company agreed to conduct a recall to correct the information and to conduct a voluntary service campaign to add additional side-impact protection.

Less than a year later, in July 2015, NHTSA conducted a second crash test at the correct weight rating with the additional side-impact protection. The Cooper failed again. NHTSA then learned that BMW had not launched the service campaign it had agreed to conduct.

"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," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a written statement. "For the second time in three years, BMW has been penalized for failing to meet that obligation."

Additionally, a NHTSA employee was able to purchase a recalled Mini Cooper that that had not been remedied.

For more details, the full consent order can be found here.