BMW has known about fire risk since August 2016: KCA

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BMW has known about fire risk since August 2016: KCA

The Korea Consumer Association (KCA) claimed Tuesday that BMW Korea Chairman Kim Hyo-joon lied about when he first learned that there was a risk of engines catching on fire.

The association, which is currently filing a lawsuit against the German carmaker on behalf of more than 1,200 BMW owners in Korea, said Tuesday that it has exclusively secured a report sent from BMW North America to the Korean unit about the defects in the emission gas recirculation system (EGR) in August 2016.

The report, titled “Diesel engine: Intake manifold damaged,” warns about EGR defects in four models equipped with the N57T diesel engine and another four models equipped with the N47T diesel engine.

The report was sent from BMW North America and written in May 2016.

During a hearing last month, Kim claimed that he had first learned of the EGR issue in November 2016.

Heon Law, which is representing the KCA in the compensation lawsuit against the automaker, claims the report was sent to BMW Korea and its service centers by August 2016 at the latest.

The report says the EGR defect is derived from the “excessive thermal load” on the intake components as well as an “excessive or unmetered air leak in the intake/charge air system.” It also identifies a malfunctioning bypass valve as one of the causes of the defect.

The report also says that the air leak needs to be fixed.

Of the eight models identified in the report, three of them - the 535d, X5 xDrive and 740Ld xDrive - are included in the latest recall of 106,000 units from 42 models.

“We found out that BMW had been preparing a series of countermeasures for the malfunctioning bypass valve, EGR and diesel particulate filter among others way before August 2016,” said Koo Bon-seung, an attorney at Heon Law. “It seems that BMW Korea was aware of the issue since August 2016 after receiving the report and has been fixing the parts unofficially.”

BMW Korea refuted the KCA's claim, saying that the report in question was not sent from the North American unit to Korea. The automaker refused to offer any further comment on the report as the investigation is ongoing.

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