Feeling Burned by ABC News Report, BMW Fires Back

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.”

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • TMA1 TMA1 on May 15, 2017

    I thought "unauthorized modification" was a German phrase meaning "repair."

  • Bullnuke Bullnuke on May 15, 2017

    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.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.
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