BMW Blocks Attempt To Sell Salvaged Cars, Now Why Is That?

The MV Freemantle under full smoke…

In the middle of last year, a bulk car carrier called the MV Freemantle Highway went up in flames in the North Sea and in the process thousands of BMW’s, Mercede’s, Porsche’s and Mini’s were consumed in the fire. 

Unusually, the ship survived and was towed back to port. Inside, a large number of the cars that were onboard survived and have been deemed good enough to be salvaged and sold by the insurance company.

But hang-on, not so fast. BMW do not like that idea one bit and are suing the salvage company to stop the cars from hitting the market, claiming that the vehicles are far too damaged to be safely allowed on to the roads.

The MV Freemantle left Germany a year ago with some 3827 vehicles on board, all destined for Egypt.  As the ship set sail, one of the EV cars decided it had other ideas and spontaneously caught fire, as EVs tend to do from time to time.

The fire spread throughout the ship, unfortunately killing one of the crew, and there was fear that the ship would capsize and sink in the same way that another bulk car carrier had done a year earlier.  Fortunately, the fire was extinguished and the ship returned to the Dutch port of Eemshaven for salvage.

EVs “in good condition” after Fremantle Highway ro-ro fire | Automotive  Logistics

An inside view of some of the cargo, pretty sure these cannot be salvaged.

Of the cars on board it was discovered that some 260 BMWs were still in good enough condition to be described as undamaged and according to a report in a Dutch publication, the Northern Times, a group of Dutch business men offered to buy them from the Insurance company as a job lot and it is here that BMW stepped in with a firm “No Thank You”.

The German car manufacturer swiftly filed an injunction in a Dutch court to stop the sale claiming that the cars safety may have been compromised and thus there were concerns that this would they would suffer “reputational damage” should the sale go ahead. 

BMW allege that the cars had been “totalled” by the insurance company and that they had suffered potential structural damage along with damage to the paint and electrical systems.

Apparently, the buyers have offered a compromise of selling the cars outside of the EU but that of course does beg the question as to the potential safety issues if they are willing to accept that the cars are not safe enough for Europe but elsewhere it doesn’t matter so much? Well thanks for that. 

Of course the damage may be on the superficial side as the Dutch buyers claim and totally fixable, but until I know the outcome of this story I would be very hesitant to dip in to the grey market for an almost new BMW offered cheap on the grey market at least until we know the fate and destination of those BMWs.

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