A spate of reports of BMW vehicles catching fire in South Korea has continued this week, with more than 30 vehicles reported to have burst into flames.
BMW Korea CEO Kim Hyo-joon held a media conference at a Seoul hotel on Monday and bowed as he offered an apology for causing local customers and the South Korean government concern.
Kim attributed the cases of BMW engine fires reported in the country to defects with the exhaust gas recirculation(EGR) coolers in cars sold locally, among other issues. He dismissed speculation that all of the German automaker's diesel vehicles are prone to the problem.
He said the company's German headquarters views it as a serious matter and is reviewing the situation to resolve the issue with priority.
Kim also stressed the company’s will to have its voluntary recall plan work smoothly.
Several technology-related executives from BMW headquarters also attended the conference to explain the causes of the fires.
In response to the fires, the government is mulling introducing punitive damages against car manufacturers.
The government is also considering an administrative order to enforce mandatory safety inspections of all recalled BMW vehicles by next Tuesday following a spate of reports of the German automaker’s cars catching fire.
The Transport Ministry said Friday that it is reviewing the order as a prior step to suspending the operation of BMW vehicles that have not received inspections.
The official said that around seven thousand cars are undergoing inspections at BMW service centers each day and this could be raised to ten-thousand units daily.
Out of the some 106-thousand vehicles that have been recalled in total, 52-thousand have been inspected as of Thursday.