BMW Gets Hit With Complaints From Owners As It Recalls Cars Over Fire Risks

There have been 36 recorded fires in South Korea alone this year.

BMW is recalling more than 300,000 vehicles over fire risks.
Harold Cunningham / Getty Images

There have been 36 recorded fires in South Korea alone this year.

BMW has announced that it will be recalling 324,000 diesel vehicles in Europe due to fire risks in some of its cars. The recall comes as a series of incidents in South Korea, where as many as 36 cars have burst into flames since the problem became public knowledge in January, has resulted in formal complaints against the legacy car-maker.

BMW has acknowledged the fire risk issue officially, issuing an apology to its consumers in South Korea. In a press conference last week, BMW Korea chairman Kim Hyo-Joon expressed his sincere apologies.

“For the recent series of fire incidents happened in the country, we sincerely apologize for causing worry and anxiety among people and government authorities,” the executive said, according to a Motor1 report.

The problem on BMW’s vehicles has been identified as a defect in the exhaust gas recirculation system. In South Korea, where there have been 36 reported incidents of cars bursting into flames, BMW would be conducting a voluntary recall of the 106,317 diesel-powered vehicles covering 42 models in the country. The recalls, which will affect popular models such as the 528i, 428i, 740i, 745i, and Mini 5-door hatch, will start on August 20, according to a Wards Auto report.

Some BMW owners in South Korea have opted to file an official complaint against the company. Dubbing themselves as “BMW victims,” the owners are represented by Barum Law, which also sued Volkswagen Korea during the 2015 Dieselgate controversy. A spokesman from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated that the complaints have been turned over to the Sophisticated Crimes Investigation Unit.

Particularly aggravating to BMW owners was the fact that the company appeared to have been aware of the fire risk even before some vehicles started bursting into flames. According to some reports, BMW has reportedly been aware of the exhaust gas recirculation system defect in its cars since 2016, but it just opted to address the problem now.

So far, 42 models built between March 2011 and November 2016 have been recalled in South Korea. The company could also face fines in the tens of millions of dollars.

While complaints have been filed and recalls have been announced, however, BMW owners in South Korea are still not out of the water. Due to the fire risks from the vehicles, several parking structures in Seoul have barred BMW vehicles from entering their facilities. A number of condominium owners have also adopted similar rules, preventing residents who own cars made by the German automaker from parking in their premises.