BMW apologises for engine fires in South Korea

Because of the 32 sedans engulfed in flames, BMW now faces a wave of lawsuits

Photo: EPA MW Korea CEO Kim Hyo-joon bows in an official apology.

BMW AG’s Korean unit apologised Monday over engine fires that prompted recalls and a probe, seeking to allay concerns amid pictures and videos of cars catching fire while being driven. BMW Korea Chairman Kim Hyo-joon said the German carmaker will fully cooperate with the transport ministry’s investigation and complete emergency safety inspections of its vehicles by next week.

This however may not save the car manufacturer from facing the judicial authorities, since the South Korean Consumer Association said Monday it has formed a group of experts to help the owners of BMW vehicles file a lawsuit against the German carmaker. It will invite BMW consumers to file a joint suit against the company on 11 August, claiming it has already gathered 100 names willing to take part in the joint suit.

More than 30 cases of BMW fires have been reported in South Korea throughout the year, mostly in July. Images and videos of BMW sedans engulfed in smoke and gutted by fires caused alarm among drivers. Some parking lots reportedly refused to let in BMW drivers and other drivers said they were trying to avoid BMWs on the road. Later on, BMW announced it has identified the EGR, one of the principal methods used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines, as the main cause of the recent fires in the engine compartment and recalled 42 models, affecting a total of 106,317 vehicles.

BMW is however still investigating why South Korea saw so many such incidents this summer, since BMW uses the same software and hardware in all other countries.

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