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Case Against BMW To Be Filed By South Korea Over 'Delayed' Response To Engine Fires

Case Against BMW To Be Filed By South Korea Over 'Delayed' Response To Engine Fires
An official complaint against the German luxury car maker BMW is to be filed by the transport ministry of South Korea with prosecutors because the company had allegedly intentionally delaying recall of cars as well as not reporting faults in the cars which resulted in several engine fires such cars in the country this year.
According to recent reports, BMW was forced to initiate a recall of 172,080 models and issue an apology to the stakeholders after 52 vehicle manufactured by the company caught fires in South Korea as of end-November because of a faulty exhaust treatment system in BMW diesel cars.
The alleged delay in recalls of the faulty cars by BMW also attracted a fine of 11.2 billion won (€8.7 million) by the transport ministry of the country.
According to an investigation of the multiple fires in the BMW cars conducted the government the fires were sparked in the engines by a faulty design in BMW's Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) unit. Whether there is need for more recalls of the cars in the country would be decided later by the government.
While claiming that all of the cars of the faulty model were recalled in a timely manner, BMW refused to accept that there were any defects in the design of the engines of the model.
"We embarked on recall measures without hesitation at the time when the root cause of fires was confirmed," BMW's Korean unit said in statement.
BMW said that it was only in July this year that the company had first accepted the fault in the EGR system and that it was cause of the fires. However, the government has alleged that the company had been aware of the fault for a much longer time - since 2015, when a task force was created by it to tackle the situation.
While announcing the recalls of 106,317 vehicles in July, BMW failed to recall an additional 65,763 vehicles which were fitted by the same engines until October, the government has alleged.
According to government reports of South Korea, the percentage of BMW vehicles that catch fire in South Korea is 0.14 per cent which is close to the rate of such incidents Germany at 0.19 per cent and 0.17 per cent in the United Kingdom but lower than the rates of BMW vehicles catching fire in the United States and China.
In the January to November period, there was a drop of almost 10 per cent in the sale of BMW's South Korean sales at 47,569 vehicles compared to the same period a year earlier.  In comparison, the growth in imported cars in the country for the same period was 13 per cent and the growth of sale of Hyundai Motor 3 per cent.
In the South Korean market, after Mercedes Benz, the most number of imported cars are those of BMW.
In recent times, the growth rate of sale for German auto companies in South Korea has been very good and they have managed to break the jinx of domination of Hyundai in the market primarily driven by their strength in fuel-efficient diesel vehicles and the free trade deal that has been struck between South Korea, the European Union and the United States.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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