Washington, D.C. – BMW of North America has agreed to pay US$3 million in fines for taking too long to report safety defects in several cars and motorcycles.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the automaker failed to comply with requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act that requires it to report safety defects and noncompliances to the federal government in a timely manner.

“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.”

Federal law requires all auto manufacturers to notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect or noncompliance exists, and to promptly conduct a recall. NHTSA’s examination of 16 recalls issued by BMW in 2010 found evidence of a number of instances where the automaker failed to report safety defects to the agency in accordance with federal law.

As part of the settlement, BMW and its parent company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG agreed to make internal changes to its recall decision-making process to ensure timely reporting to consumers and the federal government in future.

The fines will be paid into the Treasury Department’s general fund.

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