By on May 15, 2017

bmw grille

Last week’s ABC News investigation into unrecalled BMW models bursting into flames after being parked raised a number of questions, but didn’t provide viewers with many answers.

While the automaker, like others, has seen its fair share of fire-related safety recalls in recent years, the models involved in the apparent rash of spontaneous fires appear quite diverse — both in model type and age. Any fire can have a number of causes, leading many to see the report as sensationalism, especially after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it couldn’t find a recall-worthy issue behind the blazes.

After taking time to examine ABC‘s findings, BMW decided to speak out.

In an official statement posted to its website, the automaker said it empathizes with any customer who has experienced a car fire and remains dedicated to keeping its clientele safe. It stressed its products are not dangerous, stating, “We have full confidence in our products and strive to always provide the best possible owner’s experience.”

Calling incidents of fire in BMW vehicles “extremely rare,” the automaker detailed its go-to investigations team, which works with insurance companies and law enforcement to pinpoint the cause of unusual blazes.

As for the content of the news report, BMW offered up this explanation:

We have investigated and where still possible, inspected the vehicles identified by ABC News. These vehicles span an age range of 1-15 years, accumulated mileage of up to 232,250 miles, multiple generations and model types. In cases that we have inspected and are able to determine root causes, we have not seen any pattern related to quality or component failure. Vehicle fires can result from a wide variety of external reasons and can range from improper accident damage repair, previous vehicle flooding, lack of, or improper preventative maintenance, rodent nesting, unauthorized modifications to the vehicle (such as remote starters, stereo installations, etc.) and even arson.

As for reports of combustible Bimmers in overseas markets, the automaker honed in on one country in particular. BMW of North America doesn’t normally comment on issues in other markets, but it did say that “as in the US, the incidents in Korea have been investigated and it was determined that the majority were caused by unauthorized aftermarket modifications.”

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10 Comments on “Feeling Burned by ABC News Report, BMW Fires Back...”


  • avatar
    lon888

    Deusche Auto rule einer: Es ist alvays dummkoph Amerikaner fahren. Zay don’t know how to care for Deuscher autos.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Given the sheer randomness of the fires, I have to say BMW is correct. The common component in these failures is the owner. The hard part is not to insult them.

  • avatar
    arach

    I’m certainly against car defects, and I don’t even like BMW… but this ABC news report doesn’t even make sense.

    Even someone with mild car knowledge would know that these things don’t have something connecting them. It seems like a huge stretch and picking up things to make up a story.

    I mean if they were all 2008 BMW e90s and the root cause was ALL the fuel pump or something… Thats a story.

    But taking cars with different parts, different makes, different years, and different causes and TRYING to make them tied to eachother just because the badge on the grille makes no sense at all.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >>I’m certainly against car defects, and I don’t even like BMW… but this ABC news report doesn’t even make sense.

      I agree (and also not a BMW fan). But I was discussing this with non-car people, and despite ABC’s flawed reporting, they still gave more weight to ABC news than BMW. Sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I agree as well, and with few exceptions, I’m not a BMW guy either. Not to say I’d never have one but they’re not usually on my radar.

      Besides, we all know that if any German automaker should be investigated for random fires, its obviously VAG.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    As BMWs age, they tend to attract the type of demographic that does things like aftermarket color-changing angel eyes and subs in the trunk, which leads to a fair number of fires due to shoddy components + poor hack wiring. Disclaimer: I’m a BMW fan, but my fandom ends with the E38, E39 and E46.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Vehicle fires can result from a wide variety of external reasons and can range from improper accident damage repair, previous vehicle flooding, lack of, or improper preventative maintenance, rodent nesting, unauthorized modifications to the vehicle (such as remote starters, stereo installations, etc.) and even arson.”

    All true for any make, so here’s the question: Do BMWs spontaneously burn at a meaningfully higher rate than other makes?

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Hmm, yes, I see where you are going with this. Focusing solely on the “arson” aspect, the question would be, “Do BMW drivers make other people want to burn BMWs to the ground at a meaningfully higher rate than drivers of other makes?”

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I thought “unauthorized modification” was a German phrase meaning “repair.”

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    ABC needs to hire Stone Phillips and his incendiary assistant to investigate this. Then we’ll get to the bottom of the situation with exciting videos of burning Bimmers.


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