BMW says group sales up 1.1 percent in 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) – BMW’s (BMWG.DE) group sales went up 1.1 percent worldwide in 2018 to 2,490,664 vehicles, the company said on Friday, adding that it expected a slight increase this year despite challenging market conditions.

BMW brand sales increased by 1.8 pct worldwide in 2018, to 2,125,026 vehicles, the company said, with December sales rising 1.3 percent.

The group’s December sales fell 0.7 percent compared with the previous year, affected by a 11.3 percent drop in the MINI brand sales.

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South Korea to file complaint against BMW for 'delayed' response to engine fires

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s transport ministry said it would file a complaint against German luxury carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) with prosecutors for allegedly delaying recalls and concealing defects that led to several engine fires in the country this year.

The ministry also fined BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.96 million) over “delayed recalls”.

A faulty exhaust treatment system in BMW diesel cars caused 52 vehicle fires in South Korea as of end-November, prompting the company to recall 172,080 models and issue an apology.

The government said an investigation showed that a faulty design in BMW’s Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) unit sparked the fires, adding it will decide whether to order more recalls.

BMW denied design defects and said it recalled models in a timely manner.

“We embarked on recall measures without hesitation at the time when the root cause of fires was confirmed,” BMW’s Korean unit said in statement on Monday.

BMW said it first acknowledged in July this year the faulty EGR system causing fires, but the government said BMW was aware of the problem since 2015 when it created a task force to address the issue.

BMW announced the recall of 106,317 vehicles in July, but the automaker did not recall an additional 65,763 vehicles that use the same engines until October, the government said.

The rate of BMW vehicles catching fires was 0.14 percent in South Korea, similar to 0.19 percent in Germany and 0.17 percent in the United Kingdom, and lower than those in the United States and China, South Korea said.

BMW’s South Korean sales fell nearly 10 percent to 47,569 vehicles from January to November from a year earlier. This compared with the imported car market’s 13 percent growth and Hyundai Motor’s (005380.KS) 3 percent sales gain.

BMW is the second-biggest imported car maker after Mercedes Benz (DAIGn.DE) in South Korea.

German automakers have in recent years achieved breakneck sales growth in South Korea, long dominated by Hyundai, fueled by their strength in fuel-efficient diesel vehicles and the country’s free trade deal with the European Union and the United States.

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Hamilton Police arrest driver suspended for life

Hamilton Police have arrested a Canada-wide disqualified driver that they believe was involved in recent driving incidents in the east end of Hamilton.

Police say the investigation revealed the suspect driver’s licence was disqualified for life after multiple suspensions for driving infractions.

On Tuesday night, police responded to a disturbance call in Stoney Creek involving a Grey BMW. Police say the vehicle fled before officers arrived.

However, it was located a short time later and the officer recognized one of the passengers as the person suspected to be responsible for several driving violations over the weekend.

A 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while prohibited and failing to comply with probation.

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