Driver demands recall of BMW 650i after his heated seat caught fire

Driver, 61, demands urgent recall of BMW 650i after his heated seat caught FIRE in Sainsbury’s car park and burned his bottom

  • David Murch, 61, was waiting in a car park with his BMW 650i’s heated seat on
  • The motorist said his back got ‘very hot’ before seeing a burn hole in his jumper
  • Took the car in for a service and engineers discovered device has short-circuited
  • BMW said there was nothing they could do as the car is 14 years old

A driver who burnt his backside on the heated seat of his BMW has told the German car maker that it needs to check out all other models for potential electrical faults.

David Murch had driven his wife to a Sainsbury’s store in his BMW 650i and was waiting outside in the car park in the £7,250 car when he started to feel an unusual sensation.

The 61-year-old said: ‘I was in my car and I had the heated seat on which is very cosy. I was just waiting outside Sainsbury’s and I was suddenly conscious my back was getting very hot.

‘It was just a little bit above my right buttock. I got out of the car and wondered what the hell was going on. There was a bit of smoke but not a lot.

David Murch has told BMW that it needs to check out its car models for potential electrical faults after the heated seat of his 14-year-old BMW 650i burnt a hole in his jumper

The 61-year-old has taken the car, which has 90,000 miles on the clock, to BMW where he was told he had to pay £120 for a diagnostic test before he could get the car back.

‘There was a hole, it looked like a cigarette burn hole.’

Mr Murch’s wife Claire, also aged 61 years, was shocked to return to the car and find the heated seat electric element had burned a hole in the leather and in Mr Murch’s dark blue jumper, before also scorching his charcoal coloured tee-shirt.

He added: ‘There was a bit of smoke and a hole so I turned off the engine. The smoke then cleared but there is no smoke without fire!

‘I haven’t switched the heated seat on since.’

The incident happened in the car park of Sainsbury’s in Warlingham, Surrey, on March 5 this year.

The property developer has since taken the car, which has 90,000 miles on the clock, to BMW where he was told he had to pay £120 for a diagnostic test before he could get the car back.

He had driven his wife to a Sainsbury’s store in his BMW 650i and was waiting outside in the car park in the £7,250 car when he started to feel an unusual sensation. When he got out of the car he found what looked like cigarette burns hole in his jumper

Today the car was back from the local dealership but Mr Murch said BMW had told him there was nothing they could do and they were not responsible for doing any repair work or to provide a new seat as a result of the fault which engineers discovered was as a result of a short circuit.

Mr Murch said he was ‘fed up’ with the response.

‘If it was me maltreating the vehicle and it was my fault, then fair enough, I would deserve what I get. But I think they should take some responsibility and issue a warning about similar aged models,’ he added

Mr Murch said he was concerned about the consequences if a similar short circuit happened to another BMW driver.

‘The fact that I was parked meant I could get out and sort it without any more major problems,’ he said.

‘The concern is that if one was driving on a motorway, particularly one of these new smart motorways, there is no place to pull in and if you we wearing synthetic clothes, the fire could accelerate into something a lot more serious.

Today the car was back from the local dealership but Mr Murch said BMW had told him there was nothing they could do and they were not responsible for doing any repair work or to provide a new seat as a result of the fault which engineers discovered was as a result of a short circuit

A BMW spokesman said: ‘BMW offers a comprehensive, full three-year warranty on all new cars sold in the UK. The vehicle in this case is more than 14 years old and well outside its warranty period’

‘Who knows what might happen?’

While he was acknowledges that his car is 14 years old and he has owned it for the last three years, Mr Murch said he wants BMW to take action to check other vehicles to make sure their owners are not in for an uncomfortable surprise.

‘This has happened with BMW cars before,’ he said.

‘They told the owner of one that it was a cigarette burn. He told them he didn’t smoke – just like me – but they have done nothing about it.

‘There is obviously some sort of design fault,’ he claimed.

The property developer said that he was adamant BMW needed to do better, adding: ‘Certainly I would be looking for them to pay my repair and replace the seat and the burned pullover.

‘They ought to be recalling these vehicles if there is seen to be a problem and sorting it out. It is going to be too late if somebody does go up in smoke or there is a life-changing incident.

‘They have a moral obligation to look after us BMW customers and to make sure something worse does not happen in the future. Other people who are thinking about getting a car like mine should be made aware of this case.’

A BMW spokesman said: ‘BMW offers a comprehensive, full three-year warranty on all new cars sold in the UK.

‘The vehicle in this case is more than 14 years old and well outside its warranty period.

‘There is no known manufacturing defect and the vehicle warranty does not cover wear and tear, which is the likely cause of this fault due to the age of the vehicle.

‘However, we recognise this must have been an unpleasant experience and as a gesture of goodwill, BMW UK has offered to cover the initial diagnosis fee in full via the customer’s chosen BMW retailer.’

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