By Yeon Gyu-wook and Lee Eun-joo
The South Korean government on Friday sent out a rare advisory notice to owners of BMW to refrain from driving the German model subject to recall amid growing safety concerns after as the cars continue to catch fire.
“The government will thoroughly and transparently investigate the cause of the fires,” said Son Byeong-suk, first vice minister of land, infrastructure and transport, on Friday. “We advise owners of BMW sedans [subject to recall] to receive safety inspection as soon as possible and refrain from driving the vehicles until safety is secured.”
Son’s comments come after BMW Korea belatedly announced a plan last week to recall 106,317 vehicles from 42 models after a faulty engine part led to a series of fire. The fire is presumed to have been caused by a defective exhaust gas circulation (EGR) module.
The transport ministry said in a statement that it will investigate the cause of the fires as soon as possible with participation from related organizations and private experts. It also added that it will take stern action according to legal procedure on issues that are found to be problematic.
The ministry also said that it would review if post-accident responses by the carmaker and related authorities had been adequate.
It warned the Korean unit of the German automaker to take more responsible attitude by providing replacement vehicles to prevent consumer inconvenience and cooperate fully with the investigation.
BMW, the most popular foreign brand in Korea, came under fire for dragging its feet on recall.