Quebec City, Quebec.. BMW was presented with the "Safe Car of the Millennium" award by the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) in recognition of the company's Head Protection System (HPS) - a safety engineering advance that can help reduce the risk of brain injury in the event of a severe side impact. This is the first ever award given by the IBIA to recognize an automobile manufacturer's contribution to the prevention of head injuries.

'As motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of brain injury worldwide, BMW is to be applauded for their achievement in making automobiles safer," explains George A. Zitnay, PhD, President and CEO of the International Brain Injury Association. "BMW approached the problem of brain injuries resulting from automobile crashes with the idea that injury could be prevented - not just minimized. As a result, they designed an innovative restraining system that surpasses current head injury restraint standards in the U.S. IBIA encourages other industries and manufacturers to follow the example set by BMW."

In case of a side-impact collision, the Head Protection System (HPS) - which is integrated in the A-pillar and roofline - supplements the effect of the side airbags that are integrated in the door panels. Only this combination of cushioning devices helps to reduce head rotation and ensure a head-neck spine alignment needed to help prevent serious head or spinal injuries.

The HPS helps reduce risks in three major accident scenarios:

BMW has a long history in safety-related innovations (please see enclosed BMW safety innovation timeline). The HPS is part of the BMW F.I.R.S.T. (Fully Integrated Road Safety Technology) philosophy that is made up of multiple active and passive safety modules.

Founded in 1993, the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) is dedicated to providing international leadership for individuals and organizations throughout the world concerned with advancing opportunities and successes for people with brain injuries. Accordingly, IBIA supports and coordinates training of physicians, clinicians, educators, and other professionals, as well as family advocates. A non-profit organization, IBIA sponsors educational seminars, biennial world congresses, networking opportunities, research activities, and supports international public policy initiatives. IBIA actively promotes and communicates new technologies and advancements related to brain injury. Furthering its commitment to advance the understanding of brain injuries, IBIA merged with the International Association for the Study of Traumatic Brain Injury (IASTBI) in 1998.

BMW introduced the world's first Head Protection System for automobiles, an inflatable tubular device that deploys diagonally across the front side window, in 1997. Today, all BMW sedans and new 3 Series coupes come standard with this innovative safety device.

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