On the day when the government announced the results of the BMW investigation on Dec. 24, a fire broke out in Gwangju on a BMW 320d vehicle. Private and government investigators said the fire was caused by an error in the design of the exhaust gas recirculation unit, and that the company had been aware of it and covered it up three years ago.
The joint investigation team, which was formed in August, conducted driving tests under various conditions. And it pointed out that the design flaws in the EGR cooler, an exhaust gas recirculation unit, were blamed for the fire.
As the coolant boils up, the EGR cooler is cracked and coolant leaks out through the crack and sticks. So, it hinders the EGR valve from closing, leading to a fire, the team said.
However, it has been confirmed that the suspicions some have raised about software manipulation were not true.
Park Shim-soo, chief of the investigation team said, "Design errors and combined failure of EGR modules are caused by fires under certain driving conditions."
Investigators said there are also signs that the BMW has covered up the defects. BMW learned about the ERG crack in October 2015 and formed the task force from the German headquarters' dimension, but it took a recall step last July in Korea for the first time. It was also late to recall 52 cars that have the same defects.
Kim Kyung-wook, director of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, said, "We plan to immediately notify it to BMW and impose a fine of 11.2 billion won for the reduction and cover-up of the defects and the late recall."
Meanwhile, BMW said that it took a recall action without delay at the time when the basic cause of the fire was confirmed.