Recall and stop-sale to be issued on all BMW i3 models sold in America

BMW i | November 20th, 2017 by 20
2018 BMW i3 review 25 830x553

The BMW i3 made its official debut in the ‘States in 2014. Since then, BMW has sold around 30,000 units in the US, which isn’t …

The BMW i3 made its official debut in the ‘States in 2014. Since then, BMW has sold around 30,000 units in the US, which isn’t an insignificant amount. Turns out, though, that every BMW i3 sold in America may need to be recalled, all 30,000 of them. More than that, though, BMW has issued a stop-sale on all new i3s until the issue of the recall can be remedied. So if you’re looking to buy a BMW i3, you might be in for some bad luck.

According to NHTSA testing, there’s an issue with frontal crash protection for drivers of the “5th percentile female” in the driver’s seat, if they don’t wear their seatbelt. Basically, that means that, in the event of a frontal crash, females of about 5-feet tall and 110 pounds have a “marginally higher risk” of sustaining neck injuries than is allowed. Again, if they aren’t wearing their seatbelt. That latter bit is important because it’s illegal to not wear a seatbelt in 49 of the 50 States.

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Some BMW i3 owners have talking about this recall issue on the BMW i3 Worldwide Group on Facebook, many of whom are BMW dealer employees who knew of the recall before the fans. As of right now, there’s no word as to how BMW is going to remedy this issue, as it seems quite difficult to fix. So the stop-sale could be on for a lot longer than anticipated and current BMW i3 owners could be out of a car for a while.

Though, there is a remedy to all of this — wear your seatbelt. Should BMW fix this? Of course and it’s working on it.

Here is the official statement from BMW:

BMW has a long, well-documented history of pursuing the highest levels of active and passive safety. In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test of the BMW i3 – specifically the unbelted small adult rigid barrier test (NHTSA’s 5th percentile female), the driver seat occupant sustained loads marginally above the limit.

While BMW’s compliance testing showed results well below the required limits, more recent testing has shown inconsistent results.  Consequently, BMW has issued a recall and is working with the agency to understand the differences in the test results.  A remedy is forthcoming.

The BMW passive safety systems are optimized for safety belt use.  BMW i3 owners should feel confident that their vehicle will perform well in a real world crash when the safety belt is used. BMW recommends that all vehicle occupants fasten their safety belts before driving, and keep them fastened for the duration of travel.

Customers with questions may contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-525-7417, or email

[Source: InsideEVs]

20 responses to “Recall and stop-sale to be issued on all BMW i3 models sold in America”

  1. jayparry says:

    Illegal to not “Where” a seatbelt? You guys don’t even read it once over

  2. CDspeed says:

    Not any matter for me being a guy over six feet tall, as for wearing a seat belt, I’m so used to it I don’t feel comfortable driving without it.

  3. Tommolog says:

    I’m all for making cars as safe as possible, but I’m really surprised we still do crash tests for unbelted drivers & passengers. If the individual isn’t responsible enough to buckle up, they are really asking for trouble.

    • Chris Llana says:

      Sorry to read about your terrible accident, Tom, and for the demise of your old red friend :-) But so glad you weren’t seriously hurt (testimony to the safety of the CFRP body). Hope you don’t have to wait too long for your new i3S!

  4. Giom says:

    I’m surprised at this ‘stop-sale’ decision. That risk margin is so small AND for illegal unbelted drivers of specific gender and stature. Actually, this doesn’t make sense at all. There has to be something more to this.

    • Tommolog says:

      In the US, the NHTSA requires testing for both belted and unbelted occupants. As noted above, there is a category of occupant that sustains injuries greater than allowed in certain crashes. If BMW continues to sell the car without fixing it and someone did get hurt, they would get skewered by the media, the public and the courts. They have no choice but to Stop Sale until they can resolve it.

  5. Chris Llana says:

    I had just decided to buy a used i3 as an interim EV, when on Saturday the three 2014 i3s at my local BMW dealer (Encinitas) disappeared from their web site. This explains it. Hope they get the issue resolved soon. (Good price on those off-lease cars!)

  6. axelhumbridge says:

    This is so retarded, seat belt use should be enforced in every state as it is in almost any country. Is just common sense

  7. tiburonh says:

    I find BMW’s attempts to downplay the significance of this issue to be very troubling. Those of us who bought the i3 in 2014 (its first year in the US) had no info to evaluate its safety other than the European test. We were assured that BMW would be putting it through the US crash tests very soon. To date, the car has still not been through the full NHTSA crash test. This year it was finally tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (aka IIHS) — and in those tests the i3 failed to earn either their “Top Safety Pick +” or “Top Safety Pick” ratings — something a total of 34 other small cars managed to achieve!! Seems clear to me that the i3 underperforms on safety, despite the premium price and the overhyping of the carbon fiber body. BMW needs to stop trying to hide this truth and step up to the plate with a true fix.

  8. Jo says:

    How many 5 ft 110 women driving this car crashed to determine this was an issue?

  9. Johny M says:

    How are they going to fix something like this. It seems to be a chasey thing

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