US safety regulators have opened an investigation into an estimated 120 000 BMW 7-Series sedans for a potential issue with the car not shifting into park and then rolling away.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has opened a preliminary probe of the BMW cars from model years 2002 through 2008 after receiving a complaint that a 2006 model rolled away after the consumer parked and exited the vehicle.

Reports involving similarly equipped cars also describing roll-away incidents were submitted by BMW, according to the NHTSA website.

A BMW spokesperson said they are co-operating with the NHTSA and are not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue.

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a safety issue needs to be addressed by a manufacturer.

According to the complaint filed with NHTSA, the car was equipped with BMW’s electronic access and ignition system, and an electronic transmission shifter with a gear selector mounted on the steering column.

The shifter is designed to automatically shift the vehicle to park under a variety of conditions, including when the driver turns off the engine, according to the NHTSA website.

The NHTSA said no cause has been identified for any of the incidents.

– Reuters

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