BMW apologizes over 27 engine fires in South Korea


Published on August 7th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


BMW apologizes over 27 engine fires in South Korea

BMW in South Korea has seen a big jump in sales…almost a 100% increase to 60,000 units in the last 5 years, closing the gap to Mercedes-Benz. Driven by South Korea’s free trade deals with Europe and the U.S., foreign automakers’ share of the domestic market had risen to 15% last year, from under 1% in 2001. South Korea is a relatively small market, ranking 11th in global auto sales, but is a major market for lucrative, premium vehicles which has been dominated for years by local manufacturers, Hyundai and Kia.

Recently BMW Korea made a public apology over 27 engine fires that happened between January and July 2018 that have prompted a government probe and a major backlash from consumers.

BMW said it will launch a recall of 106,000 diesel vehicles, including the 520d, starting from Aug. 20, citing defects in the exhaust gas recirculation system as the root cause of the fires.

“For the recent series of fire incidents happened in the country, we sincerely apologize for causing worry and anxiety among people and government authorities,” BMW Korea Chairman Kim Hyo-joon said at a press conference on Monday.

BMW, one of the most popular foreign automakers in South Korea, said it had learned of the problems in 2016, but it identified the root cause of the problem in June this year. BMW has announced a “technical campaign” in Europe, followed by recalls in South Korea, citing similar failure rates of the system in both regions.

Last week, Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said the country would investigate the case in a “thorough and transparent manner” and take legal action if needed. A total of 13 South Korean owners of BMW vehicles filed a class action lawsuit against the automaker on Friday, claiming compensation worth 5 million won (USD4,447) each, saying they could not drive their cars out of fear the faulty part could catch fire.

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