BMW mistakenly installs the wrong emissions software on nearly 12,000 cars

We just can’t seem to get away from emissions scandals these days. In a rather serious instance, German automaker BMW is recalling nearly 12,000 cars after the company “discovered that the wrong programming had been installed,” according to a Reuters report. The mistake affects luxury 5- and 7-Series models and involves software that alters the emissions outputs of environmentally unfriendly gases like nitrogen oxide. Sound familiar?

In the course of internal tests, the BMW Group has discovered that a correctly developed software update was mistakenly assigned to certain unsuitable model-versions,” the company said in a statement. “The BMW Group informed the relevant authorities immediately.”

BMW acted quickly once a report in Der Spiegel claimed that the company had installed software, similar to that used by Volkswagen in the infamous 2015 emissions ploy, to manipulate emissions data. Volkswagen ultimately paid a multi-billion dollar settlement in the U.S. after admitting to cheating in emissions tests, and now, other carmakers are doing what they can to ensure that the same fate does not befall them. However, an increasing number of emissions-related issues appear to be coming to the forefront. Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler was accused of cheating emissions test, allegations which the firm fervently denies.

According to BMW spokespeople, the automaker “noticed during internal testing that correctly programmed  was wrongly used in a few models that were not compatible.” As a result, 11,700 vehicles around the world will be recalled for corrective action.

“Niche motor variants of an already discontinued generation of the 5-series and 7-series built between 2012 and 2017” were affected, BMW added.

To be clear, BMW maintains that the software does not qualify as a so-called “defeat device,” which is what Volkswagen used in order to skirt emissions standards. Rather, the company claims that the software was simply a mistake.

“Corrected software will be made available for these vehicles after approval by the relevant authorities,” a spokesperson said in a statement. If you own a 5 or 7-Series vehicle manufactured sometime between 2012 and 2017, and that vehicle contains a high-performance diesel engine and three turbochargers, then you will likely need to turn in your car for a few alterations.


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