BMW Recalls 130,000 Vehicles After Consumer Complaints

BMW is recalling about <"">130,000 vehicles equipped with twin-turbo engines. The carmaker’s announcement followed an ABC News report about an investigation it conducted on potential fuel pump problems in BMWs.

According to BMW, the recall involves about 130,000 2007 to 2010 models which, “may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump,” quoted ABC News. If the fuel pump fails, the vehicle could experience “reduced engine performance,” what BMW has also described as “limp safety mode.” Some 40,000 recalled vehicles are expected to undergo fuel pump replacement, wrote ABC News. The 2007 to 2010 335i series; the 2008 to 2010 135i, 535i, and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes; and the 2009 to 2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i are involved in the action, reported ABC News.

Meanwhile, separately, BMW announced a recall of over 20,000 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles that utilize low-pressure fuel pumps. “In this case, should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational,” said BMW in a statement, quoted ABC News.

Introduced four years ago, BMW’s turbo line consists of convertibles and sedans that have left BMW owners nervous and skeptical. A month-long investigation conducted by ABC News revealed that the complaints are not random and that the carmaker and federal safety regulators have received hundreds of complaints, said ABC News.

“When that high-pressure pump on the engine fails, the vehicle goes into what we call a safe mode, which means that you have power steering, power brakes but you don’t have as much power and that can be startling for some people,” Tom Baloga, BMW of North America’s chief engineer, told ABC News. Baloga’s response to reports of drivers’ fears over the cars’ shaking and engine power reduction was: “it’s unfortunate that the failure of the pump caused that feelings and we certainly can sympathize with that. People have different expectations,” quoted ABC News.

In response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation of fuel pump complaints in 2008, BMW argued that the issues “do not pose any risk to motor vehicle safety … despite reduced engine power, we believe that safe vehicle operation is possible,” reported ABC News. The investigation was concluded with a statement that “further investigation of this matter would not be an efficient allocation of agency resources,” although closing the investigation “does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist,” said regulators in their report, quoted ABC News.

“This is not a question of whether the pump is defective or not–it is defective. It’s just a question of who pays for it. BMW or the customer, and with the customer, they may pay for it with their life if it fails in a particularly dangerous situation on the highway,” said auto safety advocate Clarence Ditlow, quoted ABC News. “And what they are doing is they’re gambling with you, that you won’t have an accident when that fuel pump fails, that’s not a gamble that you voluntarily agreed to take. That’s something that BMW is doing with your vehicle,” Ditlow added.

Meanwhile, hundreds of legal claims, including one class action in California, have been filed against the automaker with many settlements involving confidentiality clauses, said ABC News. Despite NHTSA’s investigation closure, reports claiming “dangerous and unpredictable” circumstances, and “sudden” and “random” power loss continue.

The ABC News investigation, involving producers shopping for certified pre-owned cars, revealed dealers admitting to problems. And, when one car owner continually brought her car in for repairs and finally asked if she would be able to take her car on an extensive road trip, said told ABC News, she was told by the dealer, ”Put it on a flatbed, that’s the way you can take it,” ABC News quoted.

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