US authorities, on the heels of their pursuit of emissions fraud in the VW brand, are now pursuing an investigation into whether or not BMW AG may have failed to act in a timely fashion in the recent recall of over 30,000 MINI Cooper vehicles.
The recall involves 30,456 models of the 2014-15 MINI Cooper, Cooper S and 2015 John Cooper Works based on failure to side-impact safety standards during crash tests conducted on two 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door models.
It took months of pressure from NHTSA to get BMW to finally launch the recall this last July.
Says an NHTSA spokesperson, “NHTSA is concerned that BMW was aware or should have been aware of the non-compliance with (side-impact standards) and should have taken remedial action on the population of MINI Cooper vehicles identified in (July) 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,”
BMW says it is reviewing the matter.
In 2014, NHTSA tested 2014 Hardtop 2 Door that didn’t pass. In response, BMW initiated a series of recalls, wherein the problems would be remedied by installation of foam pads in the problem areas. However, according to NHTSA, BMW never actually launched the recall campaign.
In July of this year, NHTSA tested 2015 vehicles, with the foam pads installed, and they passed the test. Later in July, BMW finally recalled all 30,456 vehicles.
“BMW technicians installed a foam pad in the rear side panels of the Cooper model vehicle prior to the test, which was the modification contemplated in the service campaign. The test of the MINI 2 Door Hardtop Cooper with the additional padding and at the higher test weight passed the test. However, this was the only vehicle on which the service campaign was performed and thus was not representative of in-use vehicles,” NHTSA said.
BMW finally agreed to recall all 30,456 vehicles on July 15. NHTSA has imposed fines previously on BMW and other automakers for failure to address recall issues in a timely fashion, including a 3 million dollar fine paid by BMW in 2012.
At that time, BMW promised to make changes in its corporate procedures in order to ensure more timely compliance with federal regulations.
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