BMW UK has issued a voluntary recall of over 300,000 vehicles that may stall completely while driving.
An initial recall of just over 36,000 petrol vehicles in 2017 has expanded to cover 312,000 petrol and diesel 1-Series, 3-Series, Z4 and X1 models produced between March 2007 and August 2011 after an investigation by the BBC’s Watchdog discovered the issue was widespread.
The problem relates to an electrical fault causing brake light failure that cuts the engine completely while driving. The issue was put under the spotlight when the driver of a Ford Fiesta crashed and died trying to avoid a stationary BMW that had broken down due to the issue in 2016.
BMW Australia said it's currently in the dark as to whether there will be a local recall and could only provide the statement it received from German headquarters.
“BMW Group has launched a safety recall relating to certain models of the previous generation of BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, X1 and Z4 built between March 2007 and September 2011 inclusive. The issue relates to the plug of the power distributer which may degrade over time due to frictional corrosion and vehicle vibration. In certain conditions this can affect the electrical connection to the car and may result in a loss of power."
Another BMW driver came forward to the BBC who said he took his car to the maker after a similar failure and BMW found the fault which looked like "the cable had burnt out and no current was passing through the fuse box".
The Watchdog report goes on to allege that BMW failed to notify the relevant UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency when it first received complaints of the issue in 2011.
However, BMW says it worked with the DVSA and rejected the claims. It went on to tell Watchdog it was taking voluntary steps to fix the issue.
"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."