[Newsmaker] BMW blames Koreans’ driving for fires: report

By Cho Chung-un
  • Published : Aug 17, 2018 - 15:11
  • Updated : Aug 19, 2018 - 15:15

Controversy escalated here on Friday over a BMW executive’s comments, apparently blaming South Koreans’ driving for the vehicles catching fire.

In an interview with the Xinhua News Agency, BMW spokesperson Jochen Frey identified “local traffic conditions” and Koreans’ “driving style“ as two of the many reasons for a series of incidents where BMW cars burst into flames here.

This file photo dated Aug. 13 shows a BMW M3 vehicle that burst in to flames while on highway. (Yonhap)

The local branch of the German carmaker responded by saying Frey’s comments, made in German, had been mistranslated into English.

The executive was only referring to general factors that can increase the chances of a vehicle catching fire, a company representative said, such as traveling long distances and operating for many hours. The company added that it had requested corrections from Xinhua.

Despite BMW’s denial, a lawyer representing a group of BMW owners said the comments reflected “arrogance” on the part of the German carmaker. Ha Jong-sun of Barun Law said he would seek criminal charges against Frey and against the CEO of BMW.

By Cho Chung-un (