Yet another BMW vehicle caught fire on Sunday, the model of which has recently been recalled voluntarily due to a series of fires while driving. At the time of the fire, the driver was in the Bukhang tunnel on the second expressway around the Seoul metropolitan area. The incident did not involve any casualties, but caused a severe traffic congestion on the express way. BMW Korea has recently recalled some of its models including the one in question, the 2013 BMW GT. On Monday, four plaintiffs filed a joint lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court against the importer BMW Korea and the seller Deutsch Motors, seeking 5 million won in damages per person. The four drivers claim to have seen monetary and psychological damage due to the problematic model even if they have not experienced a fire incident on their car.
BMW Korea has explained that the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) module could lead to a risk of fires, which reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines. The problem is that concerns over a risk of fires have been constantly raised since as early as 2015 regarding some BMW models including the BMW 520d. As many as seven BMW 520d vehicles have caught fire while driving this year. Last year also saw 13 fire case reports on the BMW 520d. Even with such frequent fire occurrences, BMW Korea has not taken any proper measure, but rather has kept selling the corresponding models, merely saying, “We are working to identify the causes of fires.” This has caused BMW drivers to shoulder the double burden of risk of fire and a drop in used car values.
BMW Korea made a belated announcement last Thursday to recall 42 models, or 106,317 units, but added that repairs could not be made by Aug. 20 at the earliest due to supply of auto parts. Even a petition was filed on the previous office’s petition board to ban BMW cars from driving until the recall is completed. It was as recently as one year ago when BMW Korea was embroiled in the “diesel gate” emissions cheating scandal, which later charged the company with 60.8 billion won in penalty for its falsified emissions tests. Nevertheless, it has not taken any proper action to fix the problem. Strict measures should be taken to stop import car companies from disregarding Korean consumers any longer.