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As background information to establish context, I'm an American currently working in Italy in a government position. I've lived in an apartment in the heart of downtown Vicenza for two years and have been driving the same Mini Cooper One for about a year and a half. I park in a double-storied parking garage usually fairly occupied with other tenants of the downtown area and have had no significant issues with the car until recently.
Returning from work late one night I parked the car in the same parking garage I always do and proceeded to my apartment who's back windows overlook the second story of the parking garage. One hour following my arrival at home I peer outside to find my car has combusted into flames and is currently exploding from the gasoline catching fire as it sends metal and plastic projectile through the top deck of the parking complex. The fire has engulfed all four cars parked around me and is melting every automotive to the ground. Not only does bystander property become totaled by my now melting fireball, but the integrity of the parking structure is starting to degrade as the fire begins to melt the surface and steel bearings that hold the deck together.
With luck the fire department arrived quickly and extinguished everything in sight. Again, with luck, no one was in their vehicle at the time of the incident and to my knowledge no one was injured or killed. With further research the fault that triggered the incident was more than likely from a series of previously recalled vehicles who's computer circuit board controlling the turbocharger cooling system failed. When it failed it caused the cars water pump to begin smoldering leading to a fire.
Needless to say this was a miserable experience leading to a mass amount of heartache, especially considering I cant speak Italian with the local authorities nor can I even begin to describe the hair-pulling process of Italian automotive administration when I'm single and work for 14 hours of the day.
Mini (BMW), I thought you guys were reliable professionals. It's tough to hold customer trust when you have a history of exploding cars.
- Alec P.,
Ringoes, NJ, United States