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BMW Cars Catching Fire

A large number of BMW cars in Korea caught fire this summer.

Increase in the Number of BMW Fire Related Incidents

BMW Car Catching Fire on a Highway in August (ytn.co.kr)

More than 40 BMW cars have caught fire according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) prior to August, 2018. In fact, two to three BMWs have caught fire every month since November, 2015. During this time, however, BMW’s South Korean unit said that the cause of the fires was unknown and blamed the car owners instead for neglecting the management of their cars. It emerged as a serious problem last summer when vehicle fire incidents became more regular.

Response of BMW Korea and the Korean Government

As safety concerns over BMW cars have grown, BMW’s South Korean unit carried out an investigation into the cause of the fires and recalled about 10,600 cars of 42 models. In order to prevent further fire related incidents, it also provided owners of BMWs with a safety check service. On August 6th, the head of BMW’s South Korean unit apologized at a press conference. There, the investigation by BMW determined that the cause of the fires was due to a defect in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems. Coolers leaking from EGR valves caused fires when they were exposed to exhaust gas at the hot temperature when vehicles were driven at high speed for a long period of time. BMW stressed that the root cause of this problem is only in regards to the external parts of the cars, not in regards to software design. The government also conducted its own investigation on the cause of the BMW the vehicles catching fires. Fire incidents of BMW cars, however, have kept happening. Therefore, on August 14th, the government announced that it would ban any unchecked BMWs from the streets. The purpose of this measurement is to persuade BMW owners to get their cars a safety check. Since the owners are not responsible for this situation, the owners are not punished when they drive unchecked BMWs on the streets. If an unchecked car were to catch fire, however, the car owner would have to take responsibility for the incident.

정선우  jsw5861@skku.edu

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