More Auto Recalls, Now BMW. Toyota’s Illness Catches

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Soon we’ll be all ridding horses and driving buggies. And now I get it: these major car makers only have our best interest at heart. They want us to walk more, jog, ride bicycles and live a healthier, more sustainable life. It would be simpler to build more environmentally friendly vehicles, but Toyota and BMW prefer the long way around the barn. Sarcasm aside, Toyota’s problems appear not to be singular to one company. BMW follows with no less than 150,800 vehicles!

The reasons? Problems with the fuel pumps – high-pressure, low-pressure – in some models, including 2007-2010 vehicles with twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engines and 2008 X5 crossovers with normally-aspirated inline six.

BMW North America recalls 130,000 vehicles as follows: 335i models from 2007 to 2010, as well as the following models from 2008 to 2010: 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes. The recall also applies to Z4 Roadster sDrive35i models from 2009 to 2010. Separately, the company recalls about 20,800 MY 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles. For the last, these are the symptoms, according to BMW:

“Should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational.”

This sounds quite scary, but fortunately there were no injuries in conjunction with the problem reported so far. The recalls came after ABC News aired a report stating that BMW has dragged its feet on a fuel pump recall despite years of owner complaints to the company and government regulators.

It’s surprising that a German company with tradition ignored the problem for so long. Avoiding responsibility has turned into more than a financial problem – it is now a PR and brand problem. One more incident of this magnitude, and BMW will have to deal with the same issues that burden Toyota’s reputation at the moment.

BMW is represented by Rubenstein Associates, the agency of Howard Rubenstein & his son Steven.

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