It’s the most common safety feature in every car made, so common that we don’t think twice about buckling up, the seatbelt. But it seems if you own a BMW X7 SUV you may as well drive around using nothing more than an elastic band.
The flagship premium luxury rubbish SUV is being recalled in the USA due to a seatbelt failure. The seat belt hasn’t failed just yet but someone at the NHTSA spotted the problem and quickly told BMW to sort it out.
The specific issue relates to a seat-bolt that has not been properly tightened during the production fitting process.
It appears that the issue with the BMW X7 SUV pertains to models equipped with a specific seat option.
Customers who choose the Captain’s Chair will be issued with the recall. Only 31 models are affected thus far.
So how and why did this happen? It’s to do with the assembly process. The production value chain relies on what is called a “just-in-time” system.
The system is aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system as well as response times from suppliers and to customers.
Just-in-time was first pioneered by Toyota in the 1960s and 1970s. The system was so efficient and cost-effective that western manufacturers adopted the process by the 1980s.
While there are many benefits to the just-in-time process, mostly profit-motivated, the process can lead to production lapses.
And that partly explains why BMW can’t tighten a simple seat bolt, because spending any longer will effectively hold up the production pipeline and cost money.
The moral of the story is profits come before basic safety.