Fire risks: BMW recalling 1 million cars in North America

FRANKFURT AM MAIN • German luxury carmaker BMW said it was recalling "approximately one million vehicles" in North America over two separate problems that posed fire risks, and did not rule out that more countries might be affected.

The first voluntary recall affects certain BMW 3 Series models from 2006 to 2011, the company said. The issue is related to potentially faulty wiring of the climate control blower fan, which "in extremely rare cases" could cause a fire, it said.

The second recall will address a problem with a heater valve in certain 2007 to 2011 BMW models equipped with a six-cylinder engine. In these vehicles, the heater designed to keep the positive crankcase ventilation from freezing has the potential to short-circuit, causing the parts inside its valve to melt. The crankcase ventilation system helps gases escape from an internal combustion engine.

"Irregularities in the manufacturing process could lead to corrosion and in extremely rare cases may lead to a thermal event," the company said last Friday. Both recalls are for some 700,000 cars each, but because there are "a lot of overlaps", the total number of affected cars is around one million, spokesman Michael Rebstock told Agence France-Presse.

Most of the recalls affect the United States, while some 15,000 cars are being recalled in Canada.

"We don't exclude" that other markets beyond the US and Canada could be subject to the same recall actions, the spokesman said, adding that BMW was already in talks with the authorities in Europe.

Last month, BMW's Munich headquarters was raided by European Union antitrust regulators as part of a probe into alleged collusion between German carmakers.

Earlier this year, four carmakers, including BMW and Toyota, agreed to pay US$553 million (S$755 million) to settle a US lawsuit over defective Takata airbags that were blamed for at least 16 deaths.

An ABC News investigation in May found more than 40 instances in the past five years where parked BMWs spontaneously burst into flames. ABC News reported last Friday that 12 of those vehicles were subject to one or both of the recalls.

BMW said dealers will replace the recalled components without charge. Owners are expected to be notified by Dec 18.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2017, with the headline 'Fire risks: BMW recalling 1 million cars in North America'. Print Edition | Subscribe