Cars affected could potentially suffer a complete loss of power.
Last year, BMW issued a recall for 36,410 vehicles in the UK over a safety issue where an electrical fault could potentially lead to a complete power loss. However, BMW clearly underestimated the scale of the issue because an investigation by the BBC Watchdog has prompted the automaker to extend the recall to 310,000 cars. "We now recognize that there may have been some cases of similar power supply issues in vehicles not covered by the original recall,” BMW said in response to the investigation.
"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." Affected cars include the 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 gasoline and diesel models produced between March 2007 and September 2011. According to BMW, these models "feature a design of wiring configuration that means vehicle vibrations could potentially cause frictional corrosion on the plug of the power distributor".
Effectively, this means a vehicle's battery could lose connection to the fuse box, causing a complete loss of power. If this happens, brake and warning lights can’t be activated, thus increasing the risk of an accident. In fact, the original recall was linked to a fatal crash in which a 66-year old driving a Ford Fiesta hit a tree after swerving to avoid a broken-down BMW that had no lights on in the dark because it had no power. According to an inquest, BMW had received complaints of the electrical issue causing power failure as early as 2011. 500,000 cars were also recalled in the US in 2013, as well as in Australia, Canada and South Africa. BMW stated it will open a customers' complaints line and will contact affected owners directly.