BMW widens recall for engine-bolt defect to 489,000 vehicles

The 7 series is among models affected by BMW's recall.
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FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- BMW is recalling 489,000 vehicles worldwide due to a possible engine-bolt defect, widening a repair program that was initiated in China.

No accidents or injuries have been reported related to the fault in some six-cylinder engines, said Bernhard Santer, a BMW spokesman.

Vehicles affected include 156,000 cars in North America, as well as 232,098 autos in China that were announced for recall within the past month.

In affected cars, a light may come on advising the driver to have the engine checked, Santer said. The vehicle can still be driven to the nearest repair garage with reduced engine power, he said.

BMW's 7- and 5-series sedans and the X3 and X5 SUVs are the main models equipped with six-cylinder engines. Santer didn't provide details on the models involved.

Herbert Diess, the head of BMW's research and development, said at a March 19 press conference that the manufacturer's data on breakdowns and guarantee services show vehicle quality is at "a good level."

While the number of recalls has "hardly changed" in recent years, "the number of affected vehicles per recall went up." Such increases may become an industry trend because of widening standardization of technology and components used across a range of vehicles, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said at the briefing.

Recalls are increasing worldwide as regulators tighten scrutiny and carmakers seek to avoid harm to their reputations after questions about whether flaws are disclosed soon enough.

Toyota Motor Corp. issued its second-biggest recall announcement ever earlier this month. General Motors Co. said last Thursday it anticipates taking a first-quarter charge of $1.3 billion primarily for the cost of a program to replace ignition switches.

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