IAAF head Brian Spratt branded a statement from BMW in response to a report screened last week on BBC TV’s ‘Watchdog’ consumer show a “clumsy effort”.
BMW attempted to deflect blame for expensive failures on N47 engines fitted to 1, 3, 5 Series cars (2007 to 2009) by deflecting responsibility towards independent servicing. The timing chain failure and consequent damage to other parts of the engine causes big repair bills.
Whilst some of the failures referenced were on high mileage vehicles all had service history and one had done just 26,000 miles. An inspection by John Dabek, Principal of Forensic Engineering Associates suggested “a manufacturing design fault”. Placing the timing chain at the back of the engine (so engine removal is required to access) and by including no requirement to service the chain in service schedules it appeared BMW expected chains to be service free.
“Therefore when it does fail,” said Mr. Dabek, “BMW should take greater responsibility.”
BMW offer ‘goodwill gestures’ towards some of the cost of repair but only to customers who have maintained a regular BMW-approved garage service history. In two of the cases shown BMW refused to contribute towards the cost of repair as they had instructed repair work outside the BMW network.
In a statement BMW said: “Older vehicles, which have not been serviced or repaired by BMW-authorised technicians are typically not covered.”
IAAF chief executive Brian Spratt commented: “This a clumsy effort by BMW to suggest that these failures are caused through servicing outside the dealer network, whereas we have the opinion of a respected engineer, John Dabek, pointing out that even dealers don’t service the chain; so it’s a design fault, clear and simple. Even their own dealers don’t do it. BMW should come clean.”