BMW recalling 1 million vehicles worldwide on engine fire risk

German automaker beat pre-pandemic earnings in latest record earnings report

A BMW emblem on the hood of a BMW car in Moscow, Russia, on March 4, 2022. EPA
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BMW will recall 1.03 million vehicles worldwide over potential fire risks, its third recall over the issue since 2017, the German automaker said this week prior to a strong earnings report.

The new recall involves numerous vehicles built between 2006 and 2013, including some 1 Series, 3 Series, X3, 5 Series, X5 and Z4 models, because the heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve (PCV) may short-circuit and in extremely rare cases could increase the risk of a fire.

The new recall includes 917,106 vehicles in the US, 98,000 in Canada, and 18,000 in South Korea, BMW said.

It supersedes and expands BMW's recalls in 2017 and 2019 that involved 740,000 and 184,000 US vehicles, respectively.

Many vehicles repaired under the prior recalls will need a new fix, which is currently being developed, BMW said, adding that the remedy and sufficient inventory of parts are expected by mid-2022.

BMW said some vehicles previously recalled are not covered by the new recall because they were produced with an improved PCV valve heater design.

The new recall was prompted by a series of fire reports in BMW vehicles previously recalled that had been repaired. BMW said its investigation showed supplier production issues could lead to PCV valve heater damage in the field.

The automaker said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the latest recall.

It said owners do not need to stop driving pending the recall fix, but should stop driving if they see smoke from the area near the engine compartment, or smell smoke or a plastic burning odor.

Meanwhile, BMW more than doubled pre-pandemic earnings in 2021 to $17.67 billion, the company said on Thursday, as higher prices and strong sales of top-end cars boosted revenue despite supply chain constraints.

The premium carmaker, which sold a record 2.52 million vehicles last year despite semiconductor shortages, reported a 10.3 per cent earnings margin for the year, its highest since 2017.

"We are in a good position and optimistic about the future," Chief Financial Executive Nicolas Peter said.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 5:48 PM