South Korea has announced plans to ban 20,000 BMW (ETR: BMW) cars following public fears surrounding engine fires.

Almost 30 engines have caught fire in 2018 and the ban will apply to those vehicles that have not yet been sent to BMW for safety checks.

Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said on Tuesday: “The ministry will ask mayors to order owners of unchecked BMW vehicles to have their cars’ safety checked or to stop driving them.”

“The order will take effect as soon as the owners receive letters from mayors,” he added.

Those who own the affected vehicles are able to drive to the safety checks as the ban is intended for quick safety checks rather than punitive action against those owning the cars.

Officials from the German car-maker have apologised for the engine fires and are carrying out investigations along with the South Korean government.

The group have blamed the fires on to defects in the exhaust gas recirculation system.

The car manufacturer has already recalled 300,000 vehicles this year, extending a UK recall following the BBC’s Watchdog programme that reported the vehicles could cut-off whilst being driven.

In 2017, BMW recalled 36,000 petrol cars over safety issues. 

In 2013, the carmaker recalled 500,000 cars in the US, as well as in Australia, Canada and South Africa.