S. Korean consumers ask U.S., Germany to open probe into BMW over engine fires
SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- About 1,000 consumers in South Korea on Monday asked the United States and Germany to open an investigation into BMW over its alleged concealment of defects in its cars.
The move came amid lingering safety concerns about BMW cars as fires have broken out in the engine compartments of 40 BMW vehicles in South Korea so far this year. Cars affected were mainly the diesel powered 520d sedans made by the luxury carmaker.
BMW has stated that defects in exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves and coolers are the main cause of the fires. The EGR is one of the principal devices used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines.
BMW's South Korean unit has begun recalling more than 106,000 BMW cars.
BMW owners here asked U.S. President Donald Trump to issue an order to initiate an investigation into the EGR valves and coolers in BMW vehicles, citing an immediate need to check the safety of EGR valves and coolers in BMW cars sold in the U.S. to prevent car fires in the North American market.
"We are looking forward to your leadership in ordering the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate its own expeditious investigation on the potential defects in EGR valves and coolers of BMW's SUV vehicles," Kim Hyun-jong and Lee Gwang-deok said in a letter to Trump on behalf of 1,000 BMW car owners in South Korea.
They also asked the head of the NHTSA to investigate possible defects in EGR valves and coolers of diesel SUVs sold in the U.S.
Lee said he is willing to provide his burnt BMW 520d for an inspection and forensic analysis by the American safety administration.
The BMW owners were also to meet the top German envoy in South Korea later in the day to deliver a similar letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"Our appeal to you, as Chancellor of Germany, (is) that your Government gives this scandal a top priority and starts (an) investigation on why BMW concealed their knowledge of such defects and why it took more than 2 years to reach a 'conclusion' that (the) defective EGR valve and cooler is the root cause for the fire," Kim and Lee said in a letter to Merkel on behalf of 1,000 BMW car owners in South Korea.
Separately, Tom Dahl-Hansen, a Norwegian businessman in Seoul, called on Berlin to initiate its own investigation.
"My feeling is that BMW Group is not honest and has not given out all relevant information either to the government authorities or to the car owners" Dahl-Hansen said in a separate letter to Merkel.
Source: Yonhap News Agency