NHTSA Investigation Finds Crashes Caused by BMW Transmission Problems

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A probe into the BMW 7-Series luxury vehicle line by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that began in August 2011 has found 16 related crashes. According to CBSNews.com, transmission control problems have been the focus of the investigation, which has been upgraded to an “engineering analysis”. This may signal that a recall is on the way.

The investigation is focused on 122,000 BMW 7-Series vehicles for model years 2002 through 2008. These vehicles use a push-button start and an electronic transmission control. Because of the setup of the controls, some owners have thought the vehicles were in park when they were actually in neutral, causing them to roll away and crash. So far, the 16 crashes that have been linked to the problem have resulted in five injuries and 50 complaints.

When drivers press the engine button that starts and stops the car, the transmission is supposed to automatically shift to park; however, several of the reported vehicles have not done this, leading to unexpected crashes. As of now, NHTSA says its engineering analysis is meant “to further assess the potential safety consequences of the alleged defect.”

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