BMW Engine Fires Have South Koreans on Edge

The fires have affected 40 vehicles and more than 100,000 BMWs have been recalled.

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BMW drivers in South Korea have become increasingly weary during the past several months due to mysterious engine fires. So far, the fires have reportedly affected 40 BMWs in South Korea, according to The Economist. The German automaker recalled more than 100,000 of its defective vehicles this summer.

Many drivers are finding it difficult to even park their BMWs because parking lots and garages throughout the country have turned BMW drivers away due to the fear of these engine fires. Drivers are forced to illegally park their vehicles in the street, The Economist reported. South Koreans have even shared their fears on social media, which caused "BMW phobia" to become a trending topic in the country. 

BMW first acknowledged the defect in July, and recalled 106,000 vehicles in South Korea in the wake of the engine fires. In August, the South Korean government went so far as to ban several models from the roads. Then, on Aug. 30 as apart of their investigation, police in South Korea conducted a raid on the BMW offices in the capital city of Seoul.

The vehicles in question were built from 2011 to 2016 and have faulty exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers and it’s not just isolated to South Korea. There are more than 300,000 affected cars in Europe as well and BMW is working to replace the defective parts. It is not clear in this report why only vehicles in South Korea have caught fire. 

South Korea has not made any punishment decisions for BMW but it has imposed harsh penalties in the past for businesses that fail to provide a safe product. For example, in 2015 after Volkswagen's “Dieselgate” scandal, South Korea banned the sale of many VW and Audi vehicles until 2017. 

BMW has assured owners of that it will take care of any defective vehicles but that has not made everyone comfortable. Many South Koreans are still worried there may be additional issues with vehicles sold in the country, however, BMW denied those claims.

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