UPDATE 2-Faulty component affects three German carmakers


(Adds Audi and DaimlerChrysler comments, no comment from Bosch)

By Christiaan Hetzner

STUTTGART, Germany, Jan 28 (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW will stop output at a plant for three days next month due to a shipment of faulty diesel pumps, it said on Friday, a problem that hit at least two other manufacturers.

BMW said the component -- a diesel fuel-injection pump -- would in the worst case cause the engine to stall.

A spokesman for Volkswagen's premium car division Audi said Robert Bosch [ROBG.UL], the world's biggest car parts maker, manufactured the faulty pumps.

"We won't comment on what the solution to the problem will be since it isn't our job. For that you'll have to ask Bosch," he said.

He said Audi was not dramatically affected by the problem since it did not involve their main diesel engine -- a four-cylinder -- adding that components have been switched and production continues.

Bosch declined to comment.

BMW's Dingolfing plant in southern Germany will be idle from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11, the first two days of which are a scheduled stoppage due to the Carnival holiday.

"The factory builds 1,200 cars from the 5-, 6- and 7-Series every day," a spokesman said, "but we have very flexible working conditions here so we're confident that we can make up for that lost volume."

Another spokesman said there was no urgent need for action, but said the faulty part would not last as long as intended.

"We will be looking into whether cars with this faulty component were delivered to customers, and if so whether it can be replaced during a normal inspection or whether we will ask customers to bring their cars to the garage sooner as a result," he said.

The six-cylinder diesel engines are built into BMW X3 and X5 offroaders and 3-, 5- and 7-Series cars. In total BMW delivered more than 1 million BMW-brand vehicles to customers in 2004.

A spokesman for DaimlerChrysler unit Mercedes said its production also continued after it stopped deliveries of cars affected.

Both Audi and Mercedes will exchange pumps for customers that bought a car equipped with the faulty engine part.

Despite a past reputation for engineering excellence, the German automotive industry has been suffering lately from quality problems that have led to a continued decline in dependability ratings for German brands in industry rankings.

The spate of problems has caused companies such as Porsche to threaten to name suppliers' names and others such as Mercedes to accept lower profits while it cleans up quality control.

The German motor vehicles agency KBA said this week the long-term increase of official recalls in Germany continued last year, when they rose 41 percent to 137 cases.

(Additional reporting by Hans Nagl and Hendrick Sackmann)



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