The transport ministry in South Korea said Tuesday that it would ban as many as 20,000 BMW vehicles from its streets amidst mounting fear in the public about engine fires.
The ban arrives after 27 vehicles had engine fires during the first six months of 2018, which prompted the Korea unit of BMW to make an apology a week ago and to recall over 106,000 of its diesel vehicles including its 520d.
Amidst public concerns related to safety, the government’s order will affect approximately 20,000 BMW vehicles that are included in the recall but have not yet received a safety check.
The Minister of Transport said he asked the owners of the BMW cars in question to cooperate so bigger accidents can be avoided.
Those who have an affected vehicle can drive to have a safety check done adding that the ban was just intended to speed up the safety check problems rather than punitive action against owners.
Officials from BMW, the German automaker, have identified the cause of the defects being in the exhaust recirculation system. The government of South Korea is carrying out its own separate probe of the engines and is planning to take any legal action necessary.
The order goes into effect as soon as the owners of affected cars received a notice by mail which is expected to be by as early as August 15, said the transport minister.
BMW, which is only second to Mercedes in imported vehicles sales for South Korea, saw its sales double in 2017 as compared to five years ago.
South Korea has a relatively small vehicles market, and is ranked eleventh in auto sales worldwide, but is an important market for lucrative, premium cars and currently is dominated by Kia Motors and Hyundai Motor.