South Korea says it will fine BMW $11.2 billion won or $9.9 million and file a criminal complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the country.
In this Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, BMW cars are parked for an emergency safety check at the playground of an elementary school near a BMW service center in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea says on Monday, Dec. 24, 2018. it will fine BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.9 million) and file a criminal complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the country. (Photo: AP)
The Transport Ministry said its investigation panel concluded after a five-month review that the German automaker deliberately tried to cover up technical problems and moved too slowly to recall vehicles after around 40 of its cars caught fire earlier this year.
investigation team head Ryu Do-jeong said they have concrete proof of the carmaker's failure.
"According to the investigation, we have secured a multitude of data supporting our judgment that BMW whitewashed the defects (of its vehicles) and carried out a late recall. BMW said it recognized the correlation between the defect in EGR and the fire on its vehicles only on July 20, 2018, but the company's headquarters already formed a task force on October 2015 to resolve the problem of the EGR cooler defect and embarked on measures to minimize the risk of fire, including changing the vehicle design."
BMW recalled 172-thousand vehicles in July and October over the fires it has blamed on a faulty exhaust gas component.
The company said there had been no reports of injuries linked to the fires.