For the most specific of reasons.
The car that kicked off BMW’s electric-propulsion dreams, the i3, is the subject of a (relatively large) recall notice after crash testing revealed that the electric/range-extender EV family car failed to comply in one highly-specific area. Further, BMW has issued a stop-sale order on the i3 pending rectification, though that order might not be as temporary as typical stop-sale orders tend to be.
The issue with the i3 came about after crash test results from a rigid-barrier frontal crash (driving into a concrete block, basically) revealed that neck injury risk limits were “marginally exceeded” for the 5th-percentile US female (about 5-feet tall, and about 50kg).
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the “unbelted small adult” that would be affected by this represents a rather small number of the US population. It’s also worth considering that driving without a seatbelt is illegal in all US states… except for New Hampshire, for some reason. In any case, the recall notice for the i3 to rectify this issue applies to all 30,000 BMW i3’s sold in the United States since its introduction in 2014, though we’re wondering how exactly BMW will solve this very specific problem.
As for the stop-sale order, that order will be lifted as soon as BMW sorts the problem, though we’re wondering how they intend to address an issue that only affects a small number of people globally, given that it’s nearly unheard of for a state or territory to not have standard, enforceable seatbelt laws. On the other hand, the i3 has sold in pretty healthy numbers in the US, and the stop-sale order affect Munich’s bottom line.
The recall notice is specific to the US market, and doesn’t affect the rest of the world (where we’ve all gotten used to wearing seatbelts because, duh), and BMW has reassured all that “BMW passive safety systems are optimised for seat belt use, and BMW recommends that all occupants fasten their seatbelts before driving and keep the fastened” (also duh).
In other news, BMW’s made it clear that its hallowed M cars may face electrification sooner rather than later, which may perhaps be of greater consequence than this rather hilarious safety hiccup.