S.Korea’s transport ministry orders driving suspension of uninspected BMW vehicles

SEOUL, Aug. 14  — South Korea’s transport ministry issued an order Tuesday to suspend the driving of BMW vehicles that had yet to receive safety inspections amid the incessantly rising number of BMW models catching fire.
Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-mee said in an address to the nation that local governments are required by the central government to issue an order halting the driving of BMW vehicles, which are subject to voluntary recall but has yet to receive emergency safety checks.

By domestic law, the right to issue such an order is given to local governments.
Kim said the order letter, which is slated to be delivered from Wednesday, will immediately come into force as soon as the vehicle owners receive it.

The suspension order came amid the growing number of engine-related fire accidents in BMW models, mostly from the best-selling 520d sedans.
A total of 39 BMW vehicles caught fire this year alone, but no casualties have been reported yet.

The German carmaker started recalling 106,317 vehicles last month, but about 27,000 cars had yet to receive safety inspections as of Monday, according to local media reports.
If the suspension order is issued, the owners would be only allowed to drive vehicles to take safety checkups.
The minister vowed to draw up measures to strengthen penalty on automakers hiding faulty vehicles or deliberately delaying recall, while increasing the effectiveness of punitive damages. – XINHUA