Saturday 18 November 2017

Dispute over BMW engine failures is set for the courts

BMW has urged drivers with any concerns to contact its customer service department. Photo: Reuters
BMW has urged drivers with any concerns to contact its customer service department. Photo: Reuters

Robin Schiller

A dispute over an alleged design fault in BMW engines is set for the courts.

Dublin solicitor Dermot McNamara has issued the first proceedings after submissions from more than 100 BMW owners nationwide, many alleging catastrophic engine failure.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has also written to the car manufacturer in relation to the alleged safety issues.

In a letter addressed to Mr McNamara, the RSA stated: "Should it be established that recalls are necessary to be initiated as a result of a serious risk to road safety, then the manufacturer will be obliged to contact all affected vehicle owners in order to rectify the fault," the RSA said.

BMW previously told the Irish Independent that there was a technical campaign to replace the chain tensioner, and if required the timing chain, in certain N47 engines which were produced between February 2007 and June 2008. Mr McNamara said that he has now received submissions "from every county in the State".

"In many cases, the vehicles have experienced catastrophic engine failure while travelling at speed and we have some owners who have reported that their timing chain has failed on a second occasion.

"Many of our submissions involve people who were travelling with families on motorways when the failure occurred.

"One particularly harrowing case saw the BMW vehicle lose all control and mount a kerb, badly damaging a wheel but thankfully avoiding any pedestrians."

BMW told the Irish Independent: "We are aware of a small number of alleged cases that Mr McNamara has been pursuing.

"We can confirm that we have had correspondence with the RSA and we have outlined our position that we do not accept that a serious defect exists that is as a result of a design or manufacturing defect as set out in the EC directive and we are yet to hear back from the RSA.

"The safety of our customers is of paramount importance at all times. If there was to be an engine failure, the car could still be manoeuvred with operational steering and braking systems allowing the vehicle to be stopped in a controlled manner."

It added that anyone with concerns should contact its customer service department or visit their BMW retailer.

Irish Independent

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