BMW to Be Fined $10M for Engine Fires in Korea

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South Korea said Monday [Dec. 24] it will fine BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.9 million) and file a criminal complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the country.

South Korea’s Transport Ministry its investigation panel after a five-month review concluded that the German automaker deliberately tried to cover up technical problems and moved too slowly to recall vehicles after around 40 of its cars caught fire earlier this year. The ministry found the fires to be caused by faulty valves in the vehicles’ exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers.
BMW apologized and recalled 172,000 vehicles from 65 different models for fires in July and October.

The South Korean unit of the BMW AG said that the ministry’s findings are generally in line with the assessment of the company’s EGR refrigerant refrigerant leakage. Combined with carbon and oil residues, leakages can burn when driving at high speeds for a long time and can cause a fire, but BMW said that the problem could be solved by faulty hardware replacement.

The company did not directly consider the ministry’s accusation that it was trying to reduce the seriousness of the problem, and recalled a narrower range of instruments than it should have during the first reminder in July.

”The BMW Group is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and is committed to resolving the issue,“ he said.

Junghyun Kim, an official from BMW Korea, said no injuries were reported in South Korea.

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