BMW 5 & 6 Series Spark 1.3 Million-Car Recall

BMW on fire, recall-wise, after $3 million US fine for failing to comply with recall laws last month - but is Australia affected?

Just a month after paying fines of $3 million to US regulators for not disclosing recall problems fast enough, BMW has issued what the Wall St Journal says is a global recall of 1.3 million BMW 5 Series and 6 Series models built between 2003 and 2010.

Car companies hate using the 'F' word (fire) in a product recall statement

The problem? The battery cable cover in the boot could be incorrectly mounted, which BMW says "can result in the electrical system malfunctioning, the vehicle failing to start and, in some cases, to charring or fire".

Isn't it interesting how car companies always leave the 'F' word to last - in inverse relation to the severity of the potential consequences to the owner...

Apparently BMW 5 Series and 6 Series owners will be notified in writing, and repairs will take about 30 minutes. BMW says no faults - or fires - arising from the potential defects have occurred. At this stage, it says, the recall is precautionary only.

So, if you've purchased a second-hand BMW 5 Series or 6 Series and BMW Australia doesn't know it, it might be a good time to fill them in, and inquire whether or not the recall affects Australian cars (see below; it's not yet listed on the official recalls website for Australia). The time to do this would be, ideally, before fire spreads from the boot to the passenger compartment and an electrical fault prevents you and your family from unlocking the doors to escape, potentially. Even though nothing like this has happened yet.

The number of 5 Series and 6 Series vehicles recalled - 1.3 million - is approximately the same as BMW's entire vehicle production output for 2011 (1.38 million vehicles, up 13 per cent on 2010).

BMW isn't saying how much the global recall will cost. 

Note: Recalls are a morally robust and completely ethical way to do the business of rectifying product faults - provided the company issuing the recall doesn't wait until the bodies start piling up.

Apparently, BMW hasn't had a recall in Australia since 2006 - according to the Australian Government's ACCC Product Safety Recalls website.