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BMW fined 530 million won for recalled Mini valves

Dec 08,2018
BMW Korea is being fined 530 million won ($473,000) for selling Mini Coopers with substandard emission valves.

The Ministry of Environment announced Thursday that the carmaker sold 1,265 Mini Coopers and Mini Cooper 5 Doors with unauthorized purge control valves (PCVs) in 2015. PCVs prevent fuel tank gasoline vapors from leaking into the air.

“The PCVs found inside these models were less durable than the ones that had been initially authorized in 2014, but BMW Korea did not report it had switched the parts to the Environment Ministry,” read the ministry’s report. Carmakers must report any changes they make regarding emission parts to the ministry and have them approved when manufacturing and importing vehicles.

The ministry is taking the unauthorized change seriously due to the potential health risks that gasoline vapors carry, as they may cause headaches and interfere with the respiratory functions when inhaled.

The unauthorized switch came to the ministry’s attention while it was reviewing BMW’s plan to have Mini Coopers recalled for faulty PCVs.

The German carmaker had submitted a recall plan for its Mini Coopers in June 22 after 4.5 percent of the 1,265 Mini Coopers and Mini Cooper 5 Doors sold in 2015 were found to have faulty PCVs. According to the Clean Air Conservation Act, car manufacturers must submit a recall plan to the Environment Ministry if over 4 percent of vehicles from the same model in the same year are found to have defects in identical parts.

The ministry found that the PCVs used in the Mini Coopers were different from the valves it had authorized. It has since approved BMW’s recall plan to replace the PCVs on the Mini Cooper vehicles with the originally planned part. BMW Korea is now recalling vehicles from the two Mini Cooper lines.


BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]