BMW Under Investigation by NHTSA Due to Slow Recall Response

BMW Under Investigation by NHTSA Due to Slow Recall Response
Image: BMW
September 29, 2015

An automaker is in hot water with federal regulators over its sluggish recall response.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that it would open an investigation into whether BMW followed proper procedures during a 2014 recall.

NHTSA will probe more than 30,000 model year 2014 to 2015 Mini Cooper, Cooper S and 2015 John Cooper Works vehicles after side impact crash tests on two 2014 Mini Hardtop 2 Door Coopers showed failures more than a year ago. The test was performed in mid-2014, and measurements taken on the spine acceleration rates of the crash test dummies showed that the vehicles were not adequate.

In December, the company issued a recall for the 2014 Hardtop 2 Door model that involved installing a small foam patch in the rear door panels. BMW pledged to extend a service campaign to install a similar fix in the 2015 models. This commitment, according to a NHTSA notice, was not honored.

"The test of the Mini 2 Door Hardtop Cooper with the additional padding and at the higher test weight passed the test," NHTSA states in the notice. "However, this was the only vehicle on which the service campaign was performed and thus was not representative of in-use vehicles."

The notice went on to say, "NHTSA is concerned that BMW was aware or should have been aware of the non-compliance and should have taken remedial action on the population of Mini Cooper vehicles identified in [the original recall] earlier than it did. It appears from a review of NHTSA's databases that BMW may have failed to submit recall communications to NHTSA in a timely manner."