Angry BMW owners to seek criminal probe against automaker
[THE INVESTOR] A group of BMW owners will file a complaint with police this week seeking a criminal investigation into top officials at the local unit of the German carmaker over a recent series of fires in vehicles, a law firm representing the plaintiffs said on Aug. 8.
Barun Law said it plans to lodge a complaint on behalf of 20 BMW owners with Seoul Jungbu Police Station on Aug. 9.
The complaint will be made against Johann Ebenbichler, BMW’s vice president on quality management, Kim Hyo-joon, chief of the Korean unit, and four other officials and entities, in relation to alleged violation of the Automobile Management Act, the law firm said.
The local unit of the second-most popular foreign carmaker in Korea is under scrutiny after the engines of some 27 vehicles caught fire between January and July this year, prompting a government probe amid growing criticism from consumers who blame the company for a belated response.
The complaint follows two separate filings of compensation suits lodged by two different consumer groups.
BMW Korea apologized for the defects and for causing public concern in a press conference and pledged to recall 106,000 diesel vehicles, including the highest-selling model here, the 520d, starting later this month. It also vowed to cooperate with the forthcoming probe by the Transport Ministry.
Violation of the Automobile Management Act in Korea is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years or a fine of up to 100 million won (US$89,400).
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)