BMW recalls vehicles with defective seatbelts


Westwood, N.J. – Sept. 8, 2017 – BMW of North America has recalled dozens of vehicles possible equipped with defective seat belt assemblies, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2018 BMW 4 Series and M4 convertibles with production dates ranging from July 7, 2017 to July 25, 2017. The German automaker suspects 1 percent of the total vehicles named in the recall contain the damaged parts.

The Defect

Affected models are believed to include driver and passenger seat belt assemblies with defective Emergency Locking Retractors, the vehicle-sensitive mechanisms of which may fail due to incompatibility issues. This could inhibit ELR functionality and put occupants at risk during traffic accidents. However, BMW has yet to receive field reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

Engineers at an unspecified BMW assembly facility discovered the defect seat belt assemblies during a post-production test drive on July 17, 2017. These fixtures failed to perform up to standard during braking and cornering tests. BMW personnel examined the seat belts in the vehicle subjected to road testing and determined that its ELRs did not activate properly. The car company then shipped the defective features to the German ELR provider ZF TRW Automotive for internal analysis. Quality assurance staff at the parts manufacturer determined that the ELRs were the product of ineffective production processes. Specifically, assemblers had equipped with parts with incompatible vehicle-sensitive mechanism housings, which inhibited the operation of this feature.

After receiving these results, BMW conducted multiple investigations to determine how many vehicles had been fitted with the defective parts. With the information in hand, the vehicle manufacturer launched a voluntary safety recall on Aug. 7, 2017. BMW contacted owners nine days later.

On Aug. 25, BMW announced a delivery delay for approximately 1200 4 Series convertibles believed to include the problematic seat belt assembly, according to internal documentation submitted to the NHTSA.

The Solution

BMW has requested that dealers inspect the seat belt assemblies on affected vehicles and replace them if necessary, with no charge to the customer. The company is expected to notify owners Oct. 9, according to the NHTSA. However, those in need of more immediate assistance are encouraged to reach out to BMW customer service personnel at (800) 525-7417 or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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