Over 2,000 BMW owners to file lawsuits against BMW, authorities

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Aug 24, 2018 - 18:48
  • Updated : Aug 24, 2018 - 18:49

BMW Korea, the Korean importer and distributor of the German carmaker, is set to face lawsuits by more than 2,000 customers in the coming days following engine fires involving its vehicles.

Law firms Bareun, You&Me and Heon said Friday they are preparing further legal action against the German carmaker and Korean authorities over increasing complaints and inconvenience due to insufficient measures after the incidents.

According to Heon, some 1,500 customers have agreed to join the group lawsuit so far, which it will file once it recruits 2,000 plaintiffs within this month.

“We are seeking provisional attachment of BMW Korea’s assets, including the BMW Driving Center in Incheon along with the lease deposit of BMW Korea’s office in Seoul,” Heon said in a statement earlier this week.

Lawyer Ha Jong-sun of Bareun has also filed three group suits representing some 360 plaintiffs in the past week. 

BMW 520d that had passed the emergency safety checkup caught fire while driving earlier this week in North Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)

Ha said the law firm is considering filing civil suits against four Korean authorities -- the transport minister, the environment minister, the head of the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, and the Transportation Pollution Research Center. It is also mulling requesting the German government to investigate the BMW headquarters for alleged concealment of the defective exhaust gas recirculation.

The second engine fire of a model year 2014 520d sedan earlier this week in North Gyeongsang Province -- despite the vehicle having completed an emergency inspection -- has sparked further distrust of the carmaker.

BMW owners here are becoming increasingly dissatisfied over the brand’s follow-up efforts and the deteriorating value of their vehicles.

According to local car price comparison service Heydealer, the average value of a used BMW 520d dropped 14.3 percent to 25 million won ($22,335) from 29.1 million won after the ministry ordered BMW vehicles that have not received safety checks to stay off the road.

Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry has drawn flak for its slow response to the series of engine fires and for blaming BMW for weak follow-up measures.

By Kim Bo-gyung (