BMW Shows It’s Not Immune to the Recall Bug


The recall parade rolls on, and the next float belongs to BMW. The German manufacturer of luxury vehicles has put out a global recall effort for 489,000 vehicles due to a potential engine-bolt defect, Bloomberg reported on Friday. Some 156,000 of the affected vehicles are in North America, and 232,098 in China, with the rest distributed around Europe and other regions.

The Chinese vehicles were already under recall for the issue, but BMW recently expanded the effort. No incidents of injury or death have been reported, BMW spokesperson Bernhard Santer told Bloomberg. The issue affects Bimmer’s six-cylinder engines.

Unfortunately for the company, most models in the lineup are available with the six-cylinder engines. However, Santer didn’t disclose details on the models being called in for repairs. Drivers of affected cars will see a light that might come on altering the driver to have the engine checked, Santer told Bloomberg. The vehicle can still be driven to the nearest repair garage with reduced engine power, he added.

Bloomberg also noted that recalls are coming in higher volume and with greater numbers, as “regulators tighten scrutiny and carmakers seek to avoid harm to their reputations after questions about whether flaws are disclosed soon enough,” the site said. Toyota and General Motors can tell you all about what happens if that isn’t the case.

BMW 740Li

The year 2014 is so far looking like a record-setting year for recall volume from major manufacturers, as millions of vehicles per month are being reeled in for one reason or another. Over 2.5 million units have been recalled due to GM’s ongoing ignition switch issue, though the company has a few million more vehicles under recall for other reasons, too. Toyota just recently announced a 6.3 million vehicle recall as well, and Chrysler, Ford, and others all have sizable bulletins out for defective parts.

“What we’re seeing these days is a culture change in the automotive industry,” Christoph Stuermer, lead analyst for PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Autofacts forecasting service, told Bloomberg. “The general quality of cars has improved significantly. But manufacturers are increasingly recalling vehicles as a precautionary measure.”

Herbert Diess, who is the the head of BMW’s research and development, said at press conference last month that Bimmer’s data on breakdowns and guarantee services indicated that vehicle quality is at “a good level,” and while the number of recalls has “hardly changed” in recent years, “the number of affected vehicles per recall went up.”

Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer added at the briefing that, “Such increases may become an industry trend because of widening standardization of technology and components used across a range of vehicles,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.