BMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 8, 2019 – BMW of North America recently determined that it will need to recall 20 of its 2020 light SUV models due to concerns over a defect in the production process for a steering pinion gear, which could lead to increased crash risk.

Of the vehicles in the recall, all but one are 2020 BMW X3 M40i crossover SUVs, and the other is a 2020 BMW X3 M40i. All those light SUVs are expected to have this issue.

The Defect

The affected X3 and X4 SUVs likely contain a steering pinion gear that is suspected to have been produced outside specification, and were made within a two-day span – Sept. 27 and 28, 2019. During the manufacturing process for these components, a supplier likely did not produce the gears with a proper mixing ratio in the quenching bath. As a consequence, the teeth of the pinion gears would not be hard enough to withstand certain driving conditions, and have the potential to break under pressure. That would likely lead to a loss of steering and, consequently, control of the vehicle.

These conditions, in turn, greatly increase the risk of a crash. The recall population was determined based on supplier production data that was then checked against vehicle assembly information on BMW’s end.

Timeline of Events

On Oct. 1, just a few days after these vehicles were produced, BMW of North America received word from the components’ supplier – based in Greenville, South Carolina – that a specific production lot may have contained the steering pinion gears that were not hard enough to meet specification. The auto maker then issued a hold on vehicles that may have been affected, and conducted a review to see if these gears may have been delivered and used in the assembly of any vehicles.

Within a few days, the company found that some vehicles likely had been affected, and identified which ones fell into this population. A little more than a week after receiving the report from the supplier, BMW issued the voluntary recall on Oct. 9, but had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem in question.

The company notified dealers of the recall Oct. 16, and notified one likely affected owner Oct. 9.

The Solution

To date, only one of the vehicles in the recall had an owner. That person was reached by phone and told not to drive the vehicle until it could be repaired by having the steering pinion gear replaced. The vehicle was transported to a nearby dealership for the remedy shortly thereafter.

Because this was essentially a single-vehicle recall at that point, BMW did not anticipate having to notify any other drivers via first class mail as it normally would in a recall situation. However, if any more of these issues come to light, the repairs would fall under the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty, as the affected light SUVs are all from the 2020 model year. Reimbursement would, therefore, not be necessary.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact BMW of North America by phone at 1-800-525-7417, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion

Two BMW models recalled for faulty components

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 6, 2019 – BMW of North America recently announced that it will recall two different models – both sedans – due to potentially faulty engine components.

In all, 217 vehicles – 100% of which are expected to contain the defect – are involved in the recall, including:

  • 205 BMW 330i and 330i xDrive four-door sedans from the 2019 and 2020 model years
  • 12 BMW Z4 two-door sedan from the 2020 model year

It is expected that all of the recalled components may not have been produced within specifications.

The Defect

All 217 vehicles in the recall were made with an engine that contains needle roller bearings for counterbalance shafts that may not have been properly installed initially. Specifically, this started during the production process, which may have been out of specification, during set production periods that vary by model. For the 330i and 330i xDrive models in the recall, this lasted from Nov. 22, 2018 to Aug. 26, 2019. For the Z4s, it stretched from May 24, 2018, to April 3, 2019.

Due to the potentially improper installation process, affected needle roller bearings could lead to the counterbalance shaft loosening, causing severe engine damage. That, in turn, could lead to the engines in recalled vehicles shutting down, increasing the risk of a crash. Drivers would be able to notice if this happened to their vehicles because there would be a loud noise emanating from the engine compartment.

Timeline of Events

In May 2019, BMW was made aware of two separate instances in which drivers of affected vehicles heard the aforementioned noises, right before their vehicles broke down. The first of these involved a 2019 3 Series sedan that had been made in February, and the second, involving a vehicle outside the U.S., was made in April. Both vehicles had low mileages, and the engines were flagged for return, tear down and analysis. 

In June, BMW of North America conducted an engineering review  of both engines and initially found that the counterbalance shaft’s needle roller bearings may have been to blame for the breakdowns. Further analysis included looking into the production process while the company continued to monitor other vehicles in the field.

During that analysis period, another similar breakdown, this time including a 5 Series sedan that was made in May, occurred in September.

The engineering review eventually found that the press-in force for some needle roller bearings of the counterbalance shafts was smaller than specified, and engine production records indicated which of these components were affected by the defect based on production dates. That, in turn, allowed BMW to determine which vehicles to recall, and the voluntary order itself was made on Oct. 8.

To date, the company has not gotten any reports of accidents or injuries related to the defect.

The Solution

Owners of affected vehicles will be asked to bring their vehicles to authorized BMW dealers to have the engines replaced free of charge. These changes will be covered by the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty program and therefore will not require reimbursement.

Dealers received notification of the recall on Oct. 15, and owners should get letters via First Class mail on or around Dec. 6.

For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact BMW of North America by phone at 1-800-525-7417, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesTwo BMW models recalled for faulty components

BMW Launches Massive Recall Due to Backup Camera Glitch

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 23, 2019 – BMW of North America is poised to recall an extraordinarily large number of models due to a backup camera system snafu that may prevent motorists from seeing what’s behind them while shifting into reverse. Affecting potentially as many as nearly 257,500, a handful of the models that may contain this camera glitch include the 540d, 640i xDrive Gran Turismo, Rolls Royce Phantom, 530 ixDrive, 540i xDrive, X3 sDrive, X3, M40i, X3 M and Z4 sDrive models. The problematic  population all have model years between 2018 and 2020.

Motorists affected by this BMW recall are urged to bring their vehicle to a local BMW dealer so the system can be updated with the appropriate software. There will be no charge for the repair if one is required.

The Defect

As documented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, BMW intends to recall an estimated 257,481 2018-2020 model year vehicles because the backup camera can be manipulated in such a way that prevents the display from appearing on the driver’s screen. In addition to the 2020 Toyota Supra and 2018-2019 Rolls Royce Cullinan and Phantom, over 20 BMW models may have faulty backup cameras in place. These included but aren’t limited to the following:

  • 330i
  • 530e
  • 530i
  • 540d
  • 540i
  • 640i
  • 740 Le
  • 740Li
  • 745 i3
  • 750Li
  • 840i
  • M340i
  • M5
  • M550i
  • M850i

Multiple X models, as well as the Z4, are also a part of the recalled BMW model population. 

Timeline of Events

In mid May, NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance reached out to BMW in order to obtain details on the performance of the automaker’s X4, specifically in terms of how the rearview camera system was functioning from an overall performance standpoint. Roughly three weeks later, BMW provided the OVSC with an exhaustive report of the backup camera unit, which led to a meeting regarding compliance rule FMVSS 111.

The minutes from this confab revealed that the units may be out of compliance, specifically Section 5.5.6 of FMVSS 111, which pertains to rear visibility. In 2014, NHTSA mandated that all 2018 models have backup cameras as standard inclusions to guard against the potential for serious injury, particularly to young children who may be out of motorists’ view when putting their cars in reverse. Concerned that other backup cameras may be out of compliance aside from certain X models, BMW decided to launch a voluntary recall on additional models for which there was sufficient evidence to suggest they may be compromised. It’s possible that all of the 257,481 automobiles involved may contain this flaw.

Some of the models affected by this BMW backup camera recall also have other separate safety recalls in effect. For example, a small portion of M340i models may have rear headrests that could fold down improperly during operation. Additionally, M40i vehicles are subject to a voluntary recall over a seat defect that appears to emanate from a welding issue.

The Solution

The fix appears to be as simple as updating the software that’s used to make the backup camera functional. Motorists thusly advised by first-class mail are encouraged to bring their car to a dealer so these units can be fully inspected. The software refresh will come at no cost. Operators can expect to receive a notification in late November or December, as the automaker intends to distribute the notices starting Nov. 19.

For more information on the BMW backup camera recall or others announced by different manufacturers, visit MotorSafety.org. Be sure to have your VIN information available, which you can use to see if your car is subject to an existing recall.

Sean ReyesBMW Launches Massive Recall Due to Backup Camera Glitch

BMW Sedans, Convertibles Recalled Over Faulty Air Bags

Laguna Hills, CA – Oct. 22, 2019 – BMW of North America recently announced that it’s pulling over 3,900 models from the marketplace due to the potential that the installed air bags are compromised. In the event of an accident causing the air bags to deploy, sharp metal fragments could break through them, potentially leading to a serious injury. Owners receiving notifications pertaining to the 2000-2002 BMW air bag recall are urged to take their vehicle to their nearest dealership so the issue can be fixed promptly. The luxury automaker says these notices will be mailed starting at the end of November.

The Defect

In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, BMW says it’s recalling 3,924 sedans and convertibles over the possibility that the air bags installed could be faulty. Here are the affected vehicles in question, along with their model year and campaign identification number 19V698000:

  • 2000-2002 325i
  • 2000-2002 325xi
  • 2000-2002 323Ci
  • 2000-2002 325Ci
  • 2000-2002 330Ci

Should motorists in the aforementioned models be involved in a crash that is forceful enough for the air bags to deploy, they could explode upon impact, releasing sharp metal shards that may result in injury. The cause of this issue is believed to be the propellant used in the release of the air bags. According to NHTSA documents, the propellant has the potential to break down over time due to exposure to high levels of humidity and temperature cycling.

Timeline of Events

The 2000-2002 BMW air bag recall is one of several that have affected the auto industry tracing back several years. The Office of Defects Investigation arm of the NHTSA opened a sweeping inquiry into this issue back in June 2014 after learning of six separate incidents where air bags ruptured, which involved five vehicle manufacturers. The ODI ultimately determined that the common link between them all was the manufacturer of the air bags – Takata – and the locations of where these air bags were installed. All six took place in either Florida or Puerto Rico.

These events ultimately led to a much wider investigation of Takata air bags and their potential to cause serious injury to motorists. All told, at least 37 million automobiles had been equipped with 50 million defective air bags manufactured by Takata, according to the most recent statistics available from the NHTSA. Repair rates among automakers with Takata air bags installed rose 30% in 2018 compared to the previous year.

“Communicating the urgency for recall repairs with the help of stakeholders and DMVs is proving effective to protecting lives on our nation’s roadways,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said at the time.

This isn’t the first time this year that BMW has been affected by an air bag safety issue. In June, the luxury automaker announced it was recalling approximately 2,000 SUVs whose air bags were installed improperly. Prior to that, around 1,700 2-Series, 3-Series and 4-Series models were also recalled because of compromised passenger knee air bags.

The Solution

As for the 2000-2002 BMW air bag issue, the luxury automaker is getting ready to start distributing mailers that will inform owners about this problem. BMW says it will begin sending the notifications out starting Nov. 25. Recipients of the safety notices are urged to bring their vehicle to a local dealer. If appropriate, a replacement air bag will be installed free of charge.

For more information on other BMW recalls, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBMW Sedans, Convertibles Recalled Over Faulty Air Bags

Three Hybrid Vehicles Listed in Recent BMW Recall

Laguna Hills, CA – Sep. 29, 2019 – Field incidents demonstrating the failure of a specific part on three different BMW hybrid electric vehicles has led to a small but very significant recall from the manufacturer. As part of the action, BMW has recalled 139 vehicles due to potentially faulty Electric Motor Electronics (EME) modules, that number spread across three different models.

BMW estimates that roughly 10 percent of those 139 vehicles contain the defect, which has the potential to cause a complete shut-down of high-voltage electric power – increasing the risk of a crash should the error occur while the vehicle is in motion. Owners of the vehicles containing the defect should be notified within the coming weeks, with repairs conducted by dealers afterward.

The Defect

The exact part causing the defect on the vehicles is the EME’s printed circuit board (PCB), which BMW reported was not produced to proper specifications. According to paperwork the manufacturer filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “this [defect] could lead to an increase in transition resistance at certain PCB contact points and cause a loss of electrical contact.”

Following this loss of electrical contact, the EME module would shut down high-voltage electrical power on the vehicle, resulting in a loss of propulsion and increasing the risk of a crash. 

The vehicles involved in the recall are the 2019 BMW i3 BEV, the 2019 BMW i3 REx, and the 2019 BMW i8. While there is unfortunately no “warning” or other indication presaging the errors caused by the defect, BMW did report that in the event of a shut down of high-voltage electrical power, the affected vehicle would still retain power steering and braking via its 12-volt power. 

Timeline of Events

According to the safety recall report that BMW filed with the NHTSA, the manufacturer first became aware of the possibility for the defect via field incident reports from non-U.S. markets involving high-voltage electrical power loss on the i3 and i8 vehicles.

“Further reviews were conducted, which also involved the EME supplier and sub-supplier,” the safety recall report stated. “The Tier-1 supplier informed BMW that certain EME modules may not have produced to specifications. The supplier indicated that the EME’s PCB may not have been produced to specifications on a specific assembly line by the Tier-2 supplier.”

By reviewing production records held by the “Tier-2 supplier”, BMW identified the production dates of the PCBs which potentially contained the defect. Following that, other records were cross-referenced in order to determine the exact vehicles which contain those PCBs (and potentially, the defect along with them).

BMW decided to conduct the recall on August 7, 2019

The Solution

BMW has indicated that owners of the vehicles involved in the recall will be notified by first class mail no later than October 7, 2019. Owners will be instructed to bring their vehicle to an authorized BMW center to have the EME replaced free. 

Vehicle owners looking for more information on this specific recall may contact BMW customer service at (800) 525-7417, or the NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at (888) 327-4236. And for more information on other recalls involving BMW and additional major auto manufacturers, visit MotorSafety.org

Sean ReyesThree Hybrid Vehicles Listed in Recent BMW Recall

BMW Recalls Two M340i Vehicles Due to Rear Center Headrest Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – Sept. 26, 2019 – BMW has announced the recall of two vehicles, one 2020 M340i and one M340i xDrive, due to a rear center headrest that may fold improperly in the event of a rear-impact crash. If the headrest were to fold down in such a setting, the risk of injury to the occupant would dramatically increase.

The Defect

During production of both vehicles listed for the recall, the head restraint interlock was not welded sufficiently to the head restraint support rod bracket, according to paperwork filed by BMW with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As of Sept. 26, manufacturer has not received any reports, nor is it otherwise aware, of any accidents or injuries caused by the defect. However, the improper production could lead to a break of the weld in the event of a collision, which in turn increases the risk of injury for the occupant in the rear center seat.

Timeline of Events

On July 29, BMW first became aware of an instance where a foldable rear center head restraint did not function as intended via an internal rear crash validation test. Further analysis ascribed the defect in that case to a broken weld of the interlock on the head restraint frame. 

“A check of other parts was initiated,” according to the chronology that BMW filed with the NHTSA, “and two additional suspect head restraints were found.”

The vehicles included in the recall were produced between July 4 and July 31. BMW reviewed vehicle assembly information and supplier production records in order to determine the specific vehicles that carry the defect. Their investigation resulted in the identification of two specific vehicles in which the head restraint interlock was not properly welded.

On Aug. 7, BMW decided to conduct a voluntary recall on the two vehicles suspected to carry the defect. The manufacturer’s paperwork notes that dealers were notified Aug. 14, and that notification to owners “is expected to began and end on Oct. 7, 2019.”

The Solution

BMW plans to notify the owners or dealers currently in possession of the two automobiles, at which point local dealers will replace the rear center headrests of the vehicles on the manufacturer’s behalf.

For more information on this field action, vehicle owners may contact the manufacturer’s customer service line at (800) 525-7417. And for more information on other BMW recalls, be sure to visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls Two M340i Vehicles Due to Rear Center Headrest Defect

Seat Defect Spurs Recall of BMW SUVs

Laguna Hills, CA – Aug. 12, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling a small number of predominantly X3 and X4 models whose seat assemblies may suddenly fold while someone is seated and the vehicle is in motion. The confluence of this scenario and a crash could lead to injury for the passenger. The BMW passenger seat recall is limited in scope and no injuries have occurred thus far, but owners notified should nonetheless schedule to have the seat replaced by an area dealership.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, BMW plans to recall a combined 20 X sport utility vehicles over a seat installation issue that may have occurred at some point during the assembly process. The model types involved are:

  • 2018-2019 X3 sDrive30i
  • 2018-2019 xDrive30i
  • 2018-2019 M40i
  • 2019 X4 xDrive30i
  • 2019 M40i

As noted in the Part 573 Safety Recall Report, certain front seatbacks’ frames were not welded in accordance with the manufacturers’ specifications, and as a result, they could fold either forward or backward, depending on the circumstances of the moment and how the person seated is positioned. This could dramatically increase the risk of injury if motorists are involved in a collision.

Although highly rare, passenger seat failures have led to tragic deaths in previous years. In 2018, for example, a Ohio teenager was killed after becoming trapped in the third row bench seat of a Honda Odyssey, a story which made national and international headlines. The 16-year-old called 911 but tragically, the boy died of asphyxiation before responding officers were able to locate him.

Such a scenario is isolated, but nevertheless, it speaks to the gravity of what can happen should foldable seats release from their anchors.

Timeline of Events

Officials first got wind of what would ultimately lead to a BMW passenger seat recall when the company received word of an incident affecting a customer in China July 17. The owner noted that at some point during the course of travel, the seat folded downward while someone was positioned in the chair at the time.

BMW launched an investigation of this issue immediately thereafter and discovered that the customer’s front seatback frame may have been assembled during a time at which some of its AI-powered robots were malfunctioning. Further inquiry determined the manufacturing period in question was somewhere between May 29 and June 10 of 2018.

No one was harmed during the aforementioned incident, but nonetheless, BMW deemed it appropriate for a voluntary safety recall to move forward, which occurred July 24. NHTSA acknowledged and officially approved the precautionary measure Aug. 8.

Several separate recalls are now in effect for the German automaker. One involves approximately 2,000 X7 and xDrive 40i automobiles, whose air bags may be improperly installed. Another BMW recall, which officially got underway July 2, affects 5,000 2019-2020 models whose knee air bag assemblies were not folded away correctly.

The Solution

As to the BMW passenger seat recall, the front seat will need to be replaced to ensure this problem doesn’t occur. As such, the company will notify the 20 owners about this issue via first-class mail. They’re encouraged to take their vehicle back to the dealership – or any other BMW dealer, for that matter – so the front seat structure can be swapped out for one that’s fully functional. Motorists can expect to receive a notification alerting them to this starting Sept. 23. Dealers have already been informed.

For more information on this or any other automotive recall, visit MotorSafety.org and enter your 17-digit VIN.

Sean ReyesSeat Defect Spurs Recall of BMW SUVs

Another Air Bag Issue For BMW Owners

Laguna Hills, CA – June 17, 2019 – BMW of North America seeks to recall nearly 2,000 X7 xDrive 40i and X7 xDrive50i models after learning that some of these vehicles may have head air bags errantly installed As a result, their deployment after a crash may result in injury or exacerbate the resulting effects. The German automaker advises owners of these SUVs to take their vehicles to their local BMW dealer to determine if a repair is necessary. If so, it will be arranged free of charge. The correction may involve entirely removing the air bag system and replacing with a new one or repair the existing air bag.

The Defect

In official paperwork filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, BMW is recalling 1,822 SUVs, specifically 2019 X7 xDrive40i and X7 xDrive50i.

The German automaker says that the head air bags – installed within the wheel on the driver’s side and the dashboard for the passenger – may be out of alignment with the vehicle trim. The issue is not with the air bag itself but rather improper installation.

Because they weren’t loaded according to the manufacturer’s specified instructions, the air bags may not inflate correctly, thereby increasing the risk of head injury during a crash, the impact of which triggers deployment. BMW says it’s taking this step out of an abundance of caution, believing that only 1% of the potentially safety compromised SUVs contain the flaw.

This is the second voluntary recall for BMW in as many weeks, as close to 1,700 2-Series, 3-Series and 4-Series vehicles are being pulled from the marketplace because of damaged passenger knee air bags.

Timeline of Events

The air bag failing first came to BMW’s attention during a quality control check at the automaker’s Westwood, New Jersey-based assembly plant. Two SUVs were identified as suspect. This led to a follow-up to see if other model xDrive 2019 models were potentially compromised. Review of the relevant paperwork suggested that if other vehicles contain a similar flaw, the number was minimal. The investigation also helped BMW determine that any subsequent offending models were produced between Nov. 5, 2018 and April 3, 2019. The company says it’s unaware of any accidents or injuries tracing back to this issue, but nevertheless decided to make the recall notice official on May 16. NHTSA notified BMW of its desire to do so on June 10 and gave the company the go ahead.

The Solution

Starting on July 15, BMW will reach out to xDrive owners by first-class mail about the possibility their air bag may be impaired and what they can do to address this issue. The simplest solution is taking their car to an authorized dealership, who can diagnose whatever happens to be the problem and fix. The remedy will be free, as is normally the case for safety recalls that are voluntary or mandatory.

Dial 1-800-525-7417, BMW’s customer service hotline, for more information on this recall. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your model is subject to this or any other safety recall.

Sean ReyesAnother Air Bag Issue For BMW Owners

Air Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

Laguna Hills, CA – June 14, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling thousands of 2019-2020 model years passenger vehicles due to a potential air bag flaw that may alter the manner in which it deploys. Specifically, the defect affects the knee air bag assemblies, which may have been errantly folded at some point in the manufacturing process. It’s possible that the air bag may not uncoil completely after a collision, raising the risk of injury.

The recall is expected to begin on July 2 and owners of the affected models are advised to take their automobiles off the roads so they can be serviced – for free – by a licensed BMW dealership.

The Defect

BMW says its pulling 5,079 automobiles from the marketplace – of which include coupes, convertibles and sports wagons – due to improper installation of the knee air bags that are meant to protect the driver as well as the front-seated passenger, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The models include 230I, 330I, 430I, 440I, M2, M240I and M4. Their model years are 2019 and 2020 (the 330I is for 2019 only). It seems that the knee air bag modules, which were manufactured by Joyson Safety Systems, may have been loaded into the vehicles’ housing systems incorrectly. This could prevent the air bag from inflating properly upon impact in a crash that triggers them. Injury may result in such a scenario to the driver, passenger or both.

Timeline of Events

The problem first came to the attention of BMW in mid April. At the time, components manufacturer Joyson Safety Systems alerted the automaker that some of the air bags in several 2019-2020 may have been damaged during compliance testing. JSS came to this conclusion after performing additional examinations to see if the flaw was isolated or potentially widespread. Ultimately, the air bag manufacturer determined that at least several of the knee air bags were not adequately packed in the housing unit.

BMW concluded that it was best to err on the side of caution and initiated a voluntary recall on May 2, which entailed alerting NHTSA to the issue. There are no known injuries that trace back to this flaw.

The Solution

BMW says that it plans on notifying owners by July 2 about the potential problem and will encourage them to have the issue looked at the same place they bought their automobile. If not there, at a licensed BMW dealership. As per usual, the fix will come at no cost to drivers. It may be that a repair is unnecessary, as only about 13% of the recalled models are believed to have the defect. In paperwork filed with NHTSA, BMW suspects that the 4 series coupe models are most likely to be the ones affected, as 2,357 of these vehicles were equipped with knee airbag modules, compared to just 154 for the BMW 3 series sports wagon.

The NHTSA campaign number relating to this recall is 19V-352. Find out more at MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesAir Bag Deployment Glitch Triggers Recall of 5,000 BMWs

BMW Recalls 2016-2019 Vehicles Because of Impact Protection Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – May 18, 2019 – BMW of North America is recalling certain 2016-2019 X1 sDrive28i and X1 xDrive28i vehicles because of an issue involving crash impact protection. If an accident were to occur in which the occupant’s head comes into contact with the B-pillar, the pillar may not sufficiently absorb the impact, increasing the likelihood of serious injury or death. As many as 106,182 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, inadequate impact protection surrounding the affected vehicles’ B-pillar could lead to a greater risk of injury if an occupant’s head were to contact the pillar during a crash. Because of this issue, the vehicles do not comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 201, “Occupant Protection in Interior Impact.”

Timeline of Events

BMW conducted development tests in January 2019 on its next-generation X1 model. The results showed that one of the B-pillar target points exceeded the recommended value, indicating a safety issue. Since the new generation of X1 models are identical to the current X1 version now on the road, the automaker decided to revisit its prior certification results, finding that those earlier tests came out within the legal requirements for the B-pillar values. BMW then conducted further review of the discrepancies between the two versions.

Further tests were conducted April 3, showing that one of the B-pillar values still exceeded the recommendation. In response, additional reviews of test setup equipment and simulations took place in April, followed by evaluation from an independent testing laboratory. The lab repeated BMW’s earlier tests, coming up with similar results. 

Engineering analysis by the automaker then revealed that the engineering services company that had conducted the initial tests and simulations for the new generation X1 vehicles’ B-pillar contact point had failed to take into account a worst-case scenario for head-form positioning. As a result, BMW decided May 2 to launch a voluntary recall.

The Solution

The recall is expected to begin July 2, 2019. A repair solution is still under development. When the remedy becomes available, BMW will notify owners.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V349000.

Sean ReyesBMW Recalls 2016-2019 Vehicles Because of Impact Protection Issue