As mysterious BMW fires continue, calls for investigation into possible causes grow
Despite continued reports of parked BMWs bursting into flames, the government watchdog for automotive safety does not have an active investigation into possible causes.
Consumers have filed more than 90 complaints about the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including 30 since ABC News first brought the problem to the public's attention, prompting critics to call for a federal probe.
According to Jason Levine, the executive director at the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, NHTSA is failing in its obligation to protect consumers.
"These BMWs have [had] these fire problems for a very long time," Levine told ABC News. "They've taken a very long time to respond to them. And it doesn't seem that they're getting to the bottom of the problem."
BMW insists that car fires can result from a variety of external reasons "unrelated to product defects." In 2017, a company spokesperson suggested several other potential causes of car fires, including a lack of maintenance, improper maintenance by unauthorized mechanics, aftermarket modifications, rodent nesting and even arson.
"In cases that we have inspected and are able to determine root cause," a BMW spokesperson told ABC News, "we have not seen any pattern related to quality or component failure."
Since ABC News' initial report in 2017, the company has issued four fire-related recalls affecting more than 1 million vehicles across various years and models.