The driving ban comes after 27 engines went up in flames between
January and July, which prompted BMW's Korea unit to apologize
last week and a recall of 106,000 diesel vehicles including the
520d from Aug. 20.
Amid public concerns over safety the government order will
affect about 20,000 BMW cars that are part of the recall but yet
to receive safety checks, according to the transport ministry.
"I am asking owners of the BMW cars subject to the recall to
actively cooperate to prevent bigger accidents, despite your
inconvenience," Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee told a press
Those who own the affected vehicles, however, can drive for
safety checks, the ministry said, adding that the ban is
intended for quicker safety checks rather than punitive action
against the owners.
Officials at the German automaker identified the root cause as
defects in the exhaust gas recirculation system, while the South
Korean government is conducting a separate probe into the case
and planning to take legal action if necessary.
The order would be effective as soon as owners of the affected
cars receive a mail notice, as early as Aug. 15, the transport
BMW, which trails only Mercedes in imported car sales in South
Korea, saw sales more than double to 59,624 vehicles last year,
from five years ago.
South Korea is a relatively small market, ranking eleventh in
global auto sales, but is a major market for lucrative, premium
vehicles and is currently dominated by Hyundai Motor <005380.KS>
and Kia Motors <000270.KS>.
(Reporting by Haejin Choi, editing by Ju-min Park and Sunil
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