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BMW of North America, LLC will pay $3 million in civil penalties for failing to report 2010 recalls in a timely manner, according to a February 10, 2012 press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency said, in its press release, that the car manufacturer did not comply with aspects of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which requires automakers to report, in a timely manner, safety defects and noncompliances to the federal government.

In the agency’s press release, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “It’s critical to the safety of the driving public that defects and recalls are reported in short order. NHTSA expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner.”

If car manufacturers determine that a safety defect or noncompliance exists, they must notify NHTSA within five business days and quickly issue a recall, according to federal law. The agency looked at 16 recalls issued by BMW in 2010, and found that in a number of situations, the automaker did not report safety defects to NHTSA according to federal law.

NHTSA said, in its press release, that BMW of North America, LLC and its parent company Bayerische Motoren will make changes internally to the decision-making process by which the company issues recalls so that consumers and the federal government receive timely reporting. This change in the car manufacturer’s procedures is part of the company’s settlement, and will affect how they proceed in the future.

NHTSA investigated the time when BMW first became aware of defects and noncompliances involving a number of motorcycle and vehicle recalls. During the investigation, which began in December 2010, NHTSA wanted to determine if BMW notified the agency in a timely manner. The agency found that the car manufacturer did not report a known safety defect within five days, as it was obliged to do and as is required by law. Fines paid by BMW will go into the Treasury Department’s General Fund, according to the press release.

On a related note, NHTSA has a feature on its website where the public can sign up to receive email recall notifications.
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