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235,000 Mini Cooper S recalled

The worldwide recall of 235,000 cars involves replacing the water pump free of charge.

High performance versions of the Mini Cooper are being recalled worldwide to fix an engine problem that could potentially start a fire.

More than 235,000 of the turbocharged Cooper S models built between 2006 and last year are being recalled worldwide to remedy a secondary water pump fitted to cool down the turbocharger.

The company has global reports of just over 80 water pump failures and four fires as a result, but BMW Australia and local authorities have deemed the program here to be a technical service campaign,

Mini Australia spokesman Piers Scott says just over 3700 Cooper S (of which one may have experienced the smoldering engine bay issue) and John Cooper Works vehicles built between 2006 and 2011 are effected in Australia.

"This was deemed to be a technical campaign, in-line with similar campaigns conducted in the past," he said.

Mr Scott said the use of the term `recall' overseas to describe the issue.

"It is the Department of Infrastructure and Transport that we liaise with locally and they would advise us if it were to be a safety Recall."

"There is no less urgency under a technical campaign - replacement parts are now in the country and Mini Australia has already begun contacting affected customers," he said.

The worldwide recall of 235,000 cars includes 29,868 in the UK and 89,000 in the US and involves replacing the water pump free of charge.

The company head office said that the turbocharged engines are fitted with an additional water pump to remove residual heat from the turbocharger after the engine was switched off.

"Under high operating temperatures an electro-migration can occur at the circuit board installed in the additional water pump," it said.

"This can lead to a failure of the additional water pump or smoldering and even a fire cannot be excluded."

More than 200,000 Minis are built each year at the company's Oxford plant, where production started in 2001and recently passed two million vehicles built - the car is exported to more than 90 countries.

The turbocharged engine is shared with Citroen and Peugeot, but both French companies said there engines employed different electrical systems.