By Pádraig Hoare
Potentially thousands of Irish BMW drivers could be affected as the German car giant said it was including the Republic in a recall that will see 312,000 vehicles returned in the UK.
The firm said there would be Irish motorists affected by the recall but added that it was still calculating how many were affected.
BMW said it was working with the Department of Transport to establish the number of cars in the Republic that will be recalled.
Motoring experts have suggested the number could be over 10,000 if the Irish car market and population was compared to that of the UK.
Some 312,000 BMWs in the 1 Series, the 3 Series, the Z4, and its X1 petrol and diesel models made between March 2007 and August 2011 are being recalled, reported BBC News.
The most recent CSO statistics show there were 800 of the 3 Series model newly licensed in the Republic last year, the 48th most popular seller. There were almost 480 X1 and 300 1 Series licensed.
The BBC’s Watchdog programme found vehicles could cut out completely while they are being driven.
BMW initially recalled cars in the UK following a fatal crash on Christmas Day 2016. Narayan Gurung died when his Ford Fiesta crashed into a tree to avoid a broken-down BMW in Surrey, according to the BBC.
AA Ireland spokesman Barry Aldworth said the advice to Irish motorists was to comply with any recall and not take it lightly.
The crashed BMW in Surrey had suffered an electrical fault, causing its brake lights to fail and resulting in the vehicle stalling on a dark road, said the BBC.
The Watchdog investigation found that the fault could affect a wider number of cars.
BMW driver Mwape Kambafwile told Watchdog that his BMW 3 Series car had cut out completely while he was driving in December 2016.
“I just thought to myself if I was driving on the motorway with my family in the car, that could have been very dangerous,” he said.
BMW had failed to tell the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency about the electrical fault in some of its cars that led to the death of Mr Gurung, reported the BBC.
It is the latest in a series of recalls for BMW, with 500,000 cars brought in throughout the US in 2013, as well as in Australia, Canada, and South Africa.
In response to the Watchdog programme, BMW said: “We now recognise that there may have been some cases of similar power supply issues in vehicles not covered by the original recall.
“In order to reassure customers with concerns about the safety of their vehicles, we are voluntarily extending the recall.
“We are therefore announcing today that we will take the proactive step of expanding the existing UK recall to cover all vehicles potentially affected by the power supply issue.”
BMW’s first-quarter profit announced last week failed to offset the hit from currency moves and higher spending on technology and new models, set to reach a record €7bn this year.