South Korea bans recalled BMWs from streets pending safety inspections

South Korea on Tuesday temporarily banned from the streets all recalled BMW cars that have not yet passed safety checks following a spate of engine fires.

BMW Korea last month started recalling 106 000 vehicles with an exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) module, which it says caused the recent fires. The recall applies to 42 models, all with diesel engines.

An average 7 000 cars have been inspected every day but some 27 000 vehicles had not yet been checked by late Monday, the transport ministry said in a press statement, leaving some 20 000 cars to be hit when the measure takes effect midnight Tuesday.

Once the ban comes into effect, drivers are forbidden from driving their vehicles unless they are taking them to be tested, the statement said, with a senior official telling Yonhap news agency drivers would be liable in the event of a fire.

READ MORE: Criminal case filed against BMW over South Korea car fires

Images of BMW vehicles bursting into flames have made headlines in South Korea recently, with Yonhap reporting 39 cases so far this year and some parking lots refusing to accept the cars because of fears they could catch fire.

BMW is facing a series of legal actions over the issue in the country, and has said the problem was “not Korea specific”.

In South Korea, six out of 10 imported cars are from Germany, with BMW selling nearly 39 000 in the first six months of this year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.

© Agence France-Presse

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