BMW to recall 1.3m cars worldwide

Premium car maker BMW is recalling 1.3m of its 5 and 6-Series cars built between 2003 and 2010, which will affect 100,000 UK drivers.

Specifically the worry is about a battery cable cover in the boot which could - potentially - present a fire hazard. Is, then, BMW's cast-iron quality image at risk of being knocked?


Unlikely. Adrian Rushmore from car valuers Glass's Guide thinks safety recalls can be a positive experience for the car owner and car maker if managed properly. "It allows dealers to re-engage with customers and a difficult situation can be turned into a positive one. I've no reason to believe BMW won't do this. This situation need not escalate and BMW's reputation should be untarnished."

He goes on: "What [customers] want is problem to be dealt with quickly and efficiently without aggravation. Toyota did a very good job at managing its recalls two years ago. The only time when we [the used car market] become aware of a bad experience if a recall doesn't get done and the cars in the used car market suffer as as a consequence." BMW UK says vehicle owners will be notified in writing and the work shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.

Contrast this recall with the worries both GM and Ford had to endure back in the early eighties when the GM's 'X-Car' model range was recalled no less than nine times: faulty steering gear, faulty fuel links, transmission worries, spread right across four different model brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.

Wrongly accused

Recalls though aren't necessarily a manufacturer's fault - as Audi knows to its cost. In the 1980s the German car maker was wrongly accused of being indirectly responsible for hundreds of US crashes (and several deaths) over supposed malfunctioning accelerator pedals.

US Audi sales were decimated, falling 80% during the next five years. But what hurt Audi the most was not responding to the issue quickly. That undermined trust and confidence in its vehicles and reputation. It was a lesson that Toyota largely learned from, following its own well-publicised recall worries between 2009 and 2010.

But Toyota's stock price still took a battering. Today the share price of Toyota Motor Corporation is still valued at under half of what it was worth in 2007. The share price of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG - BMW - is currently close to a year-high.
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