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August 13, 2018

UPDATED: BMW Recalls 42 Models Including 320d and 520d Due to Fire Risk

UPDATE: BMW Philippines responds (8/14).

BMW is having a fiery time in South Korea as 27 vehicles from January to July including its popular 520d premium executive sedan started catching fire due to a faulty Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the second-most popular foreign automaker in Korea has been hit by major backlash from consumers and as a result, the Korean government has stepped in to investigate.

A total of 17 South Korean owners of BMW vehicles representing 1,600 others filed a class action lawsuit against the German automaker claiming compensation worth 5 million won (USD 4,471 or P 238,400) each, saying they could not drive their cars out of fear the faulty part could catch fire.

The report suggests that BMW has been aware of the issue since 2016, but only has recently pinned down the cause. With that, BMW has announced a technical service campaign (aka recalls) in both Europe and South Korea citing similar failure rates of the EGR system in both regions. The recall is expected to cover 42 variants spanning 324,000 vehicles in Europe and 103,000 vehicles in Korea, including the 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-series, and X3, X4, X5, and X6 SUVs. The defect affects four-cylinder diesel vehicles built between April 2015 and September 2016 and six-cylinder vehicles built between July 2012 and June 2015.

Given the popularity of this particular engine layout in BMW Philippines’s line-up, we have reached out to its local distributor to find out if any of the vehicles sold locally is covered by this fire risk. This news story will be updated accordingly.

UPDATE: Read BMW Philippines’s complete response below:

BMW AG investigations have revealed that - similar to the current Korean situation - an Exhaust-Gas-Recirculation (EGR) module malfunction may, in rare cases, cause fires in some BMW diesel vehicles in the European market.

The BMW Group has decided to carry out a technical campaign to check the EGR module and replace any faulty components on the potentially affected vehicles.

In the European market this technical campaign relates to the EGR module of BMW 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, X3, X4, X5, X6 vehicles with 4-cylinder diesel engines (production from April 2015 until September 2016) and 6-cylinder diesel engine (production from July 2012 until June 2015).

Part of this EGR module is the EGR cooler. In some cases, small quantities of the glycol coolant can escape and build up in the EGR module. When combined with carbon and oil sediments, this deposit can become combustible. With the high temperatures of the exhaust gases in this unit, these deposits can ignite. In rare cases this may cause melting of the intake manifold and in extreme cases a fire may result.

This technical campaign has been decided in accordance with the EU approved guidelines for risk assessment. BMW is now preparing and will distribute the customer information to the sales organisation within the next week. Customers with vehicles involved in the technical campaign will then be contacted.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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