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BMW vehicles continue to catch fire in Korea

Posted August. 01, 2018 08:20,   

Updated August. 01, 2018 08:20


The cause of BMW’s 520d cars catching fire while driving has yet to be identified, making BMW owners anxious. Some auto experts refuted the finding announced by BMW Korea and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, saying that it is “unacceptable.” A total of 27 BMW cars caught fire this year alone, and 16 of them involved 520d model, according to the ministry.

Some experts cited defective software design as the reason why the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) module inside BMW vehicles malfunctioned only in Korea. “While automakers use the same hardware for the same car model, they use different software depending on the different environment standard of countries. It needs to be checked if the automaker had designed the software differently to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, causing the EGR module to overheat,” said Kim Pil-soo, an automobile engineering professor at Daelim University. Another expert Lee Ho-geun, who teaches at Daeduk University, said, “It would be reasonable to suspect software system design as the culprit if the same car model with the same components caused problem only in Korea.”

“The software setting of BMW vehicles sold in Korea is not different from those sold in Europe as they are designed to meet the high environment standard of Europe. Experts reviewed and approved the recall plan by BMW,” a ministry official talked about the possibility of defective software. The ministry added that the investigation is still underway on the details of the cause of the problem.

Increased awareness on the possible car fires has pushed the sales of car extinguishers. The sales of car extinguishers between June 30 and July 29 soared by 99 percent compared to the same period of last year, according to Auction, an online open market in Korea.

Hyoun-Soo Kim kimhs@donga.com