BMW faces heat in South Korea over its handling of a spate of engine fires in the country, Reuters reported.
The German automaker has been fined $10 million, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport confirmed. The Ministry said it will also refer the case to prosecutors to decide whether criminal charges are necessary.
The reports of BMW vehicles bursting into flames surfaced over the summer. The automaker in its defence said the fires were the result of a problem with the cars’ exhaust system and, subsequently, began checking vehicles that could be at risk, the news report said.
However, the South Korean authorities alleged that the automaker tried to hide the issue.
The authorities also alleged that BMW took too long to recall the 172,000 affected vehicles, the report added.
“We launched the recall without delay when the root cause of the fire was identified,” BMW said in a statement issued on Monday.
As per the report, nearly 40 BMW’s caught fire in the country over the summer. As a result, at one point the government ordered local authorities to ban people from using such vehicles.
The company said Monday that it’s “working hard to complete the recall measure in South Korea as soon as possible” and apologized “for the anxiety and inconvenience that the customers have experienced.”
According to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, BMW was the second most popular car brand of imported cars in the country last year, selling 60,000 vehicles.