South Korean public-private inspectors announced on Dec. 24 that BMW tried to conceal its engine failure with regard to car fires and delay and scale back the recall of its cars. The team confirmed that a faulty exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system was to blame for blazes in certain BMW models.
In addition, they announced that the recall that has already been conducted is not enough and additional inspections are necessary regarding other possible defects. They imposed a penalty of 11.2 billion won (US$10 million) on BMW, deciding to demand that the carmaker conduct an additional recall of 172,000 units of 65 models for intake manifold repair.
BMW claimed in response that its cars have no engine defect at all and denied that it has delayed a recall. However, the result of the inspection that continued for four months is unlikely to be overturned.
Two more BMW engine fires took place in South Korea even after the investigation team announced its inspection outcome.
On Dec. 25, a BMW sedan burst into flames while on the road, and another BMW -- a model that is subject to a nationwide recall -- caught fire on Dec. 24.
BMW’s reputation in South Korea has been damaged to a significant extent since the engine fires. BMW Korea sold more than 4,000 cars in July this year before the situation began to get worse. However, its sales volume dropped to 2,383 in August and 2,000 or so last month.
Earlier, BMW Korea was planning to complete the first recall of 106,000 cars that started in August within this year before releasing the new 3 Series, X5 and X7 next year. According to the company, 90.8% of the first recall was completed until Dec. 22 and 21.8 percent of the second recall of 65,763 cars, which started two months ago, was completed until that date. The company’s plan for business normalization is likely to be put on hold with additional defects having emerged and prosecutor investigations around the corner.