South Korea fines BMW $10 million over several engine fires

People try a new BMW 530e M Sport car at a car showroom at a shopping center in Bangkok, Thailand December 16, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 December 2018

South Korea fines BMW $10 million over several engine fires

  • BMW recalled some 172,000 vehicles in July and October over the fires it has blamed on a faulty exhaust gas component. The company said there had been no reports of injuries linked to the fires

SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea said Monday it will fine BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.9 million) and file a criminal complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the country.
South Korea’s Transport Ministry its investigation panel after a five-month review concluded that the German automaker deliberately tried to cover up technical problems and moved too slowly to recall vehicles after around 40 of its cars caught fire earlier this year. The ministry found the fires to be caused by faulty valves in the vehicles’ exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers.
BMW apologized and recalled some 172,000 vehicles of 65 different models in July and October over the fires.
BMW AG’s South Korean unit said in a statement that the ministry’s findings were generally in line with the company’s assessment that the fires were caused by leaks of coolants in the EGR coolers. Combined with carbon and oil sediment the leaks could combust and cause fires when the vehicles were driven at high speeds for long periods of time, but BMW said the issue could be solved by the exchange of faulty hardware.
The company did not directly address the ministry’s accusation that it tried to play down the severity of the problem and recalled a narrower range of vehicles than it should have during its first recall in July.
“The BMW Group is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and is committed to resolving the issue,” it said in the statement.
Junghyun Kim, an official from BMW Korea, said there had been no reports of injuries linked to the fires in South Korea.


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.