BMW apologizes after criticism from annual Chinese consumer show

BEIJING, (Reuters) – German carmaker BMW apologized to Chinese drivers on Friday after its BMW 530Li model’s transmission shaft was singled out on the country’s annual consumer day gala television show for producing “disturbing” noises.

The two-hour show by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) on March 15 every year focuses on infringements of consumer rights and has for years been followed closely by companies worried about public blowback should they be named.

Brands it has skewered in the past include Apple and Nike Inc.

The Friday program aired complaints from some Chinese consumers who said their new BMW 530Li sedans produced “annoying noises” from its transmission shaft and that the automaker did not adequately address their concerns.

BMW said in response to the show’s findings that it had confirmed that the phenomenon did not affect driving safety through technical verification and could be resolved through repair.

“BMW will bear all related repair costs. We will further conduct technical reviews and in-depth analysis to provide satisfactory responses to consumers. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience caused to users,” it said in a statement.

BMW was the only big, international brand name highlighted on the show this year. Other relatively small firms were criticised for issues including food safety and match-making frauds.

Last year the automaker was accused of discrimination at the Shanghai auto show amid claims workers at its Mini booth favoured foreign over domestic visitors during an ice cream giveaway promotion.

Reporting by Sophie Yu, Casey Hall and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jane Merriman and Hugh Lawson