BMW has agreed to pay $3-million (about R23 million) for delays in reporting safety defects and recalls to the federal regulators, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims.An examination of 16 recalls issued by BMW in 2010 found a pattern in which the German automaker failed to meet federal requirements to report defects within five days. As part of the settlement, BMW has agreed to make internal changes to its recall process.NHTSA administrator David Strickland said: “It's critical to the safety of the driving public that defects and recalls are reported in short order. We expect all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner."BMW said: “In every case where a defect was identified by the company a voluntary recall had been conducted.”'TROUBLING TREND'A summary report of the NHTSA's investigation said the agency noticed in late 2010 a “troubling trend” in the automaker's recall filings through 2009 - the company's initial recall filings were missing important information. Each time the problem was brought to BMW's attention the automaker would promise to provide the information but then "take an inordinate amount of time to do so”, the report said.For example, in only six of 16 recall reports in 2010 did BMW state how many vehicles were affected and how many were expected to be recalled. In only five of the reports did the automaker supply the required chronology of events and all but one of the five reported were missing dates or other important information, the report said.NHTSA investigators also complained it was taking BMW, on average, more than 30 dates to supply “fundamental” information missing from recall updates.