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Some 300 BMW owners to file more criminal charges against BMW

Amid mounting concerns over BMW vehicles catching fire here, the German luxury carmaker faces a tumultuous road ahead, with roughly 300 BMW owners affected by the recall and engine fires slated to file a criminal suit against the carmaker next week, a lawyer representing the case said Friday.

According to lawyer Ha Jong-sun of law firm Bareun, roughly 300 more owners will take legal action around Wednesday. They follow 21 BMW owners -- 20 owners of recalled models and one who had experienced an engine fire -- that filed a criminal suit against six BMW executives Thursday, marking the first suit since the incident broke out.

“Some, including myself, speculate BMW to have installed a different EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) module in vehicles sold in Korea. To look into such a possibility, the government would need to bring in 520d sedans from the UK, where the model is most sold in Europe, for comparison with the 520d sold here,” Ha told The Korea Herald.

A BMW 730Ld is engulfed in flames in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday. (Yonhap)
A BMW 730Ld is engulfed in flames in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, Thursday. (Yonhap)

Victims claim the BMW headquarters knowingly covered up the engine fire danger and delayed the recall until the last minute, urging authorities to step in to collect evidence.

Despite an urgent press briefing by BMW Korea held earlier this week to apologize for the inconvenience and emphasize the same EGR and software are used in cars sold here and in Europe, doubts remain as the company was not able to provide clear data on affected vehicles catching fire in other countries.

For the first time in any country, BMW Korea issued a voluntary recall in Korea across some 106,000 units for fire risks due to the faulty EGR last month, followed by 323,700 diesel vehicles in Europe on Wednesday.

A total of 36 BMW cars have caught fire this year so far in Korea.

By Kim Bo-gyung (