Consumer advocates urge investigation of mystery BMW fires

Officials from two leading auto safety organizations are calling for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency tasked with investigating potential defects, to investigate a series of fires in parked BMWs following an ABC News report last week.

Meanwhile, several new consumer complaints from BMW owners reporting similar incidents have appeared in NHTSA’s database and on BMW owners’ blogs in the past several days.

Calling the 43 fires uncovered by ABC News “disturbing,” Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said NHTSA should take a serious look at the reports.

“They definitely should,” Shahan said. “They should be investigating and getting documents from BMW and find out what’s going on.”

Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, also urged NHTSA to investigate.

“There needs to be a more aggressive approach to look at this,” Gillan said.

A NHTSA spokesperson said Tuesday the agency “is monitoring this issue and urges anyone with information on this issue to contact NHTSA.”

The agency is directing consumers to its website, NHTSA.gov, to send a complaint and upload accompanying photos, police reports, insurance reports and other information that may be relevant.

“NHTSA technical experts review each and every call, letter and online report of an alleged safety problem that is filed,” a spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News.

One of the new complaints submitted to NHTSA claimed that a 2015 328XI caught fire while parked in June 2016, meaning the vehicle was then just a year old.

Another complaint reported a fire in a BMW that had been parked on a driveway for four days. “Awoke to a car completely engulfed in flames,” the report states.

Doug Terry
Bill Macko lost his car and his home when his 2008 BMW X5 ignited in his garage.

Additional consumer complaints, some of them echoing the problems outlined in the ABC News report, poured in…

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