A BMW assembly plant. The recall covers 89,309 vehicles produced in China and 50,143 imported vehicles manufactured between January 2005 and July 2011. Photo: Bloomberg

INTERNATIONAL - German automaker BMW will recall more than 139,000 of its 3-series cars in China from Nov. 9, because of a defect in the air-conditioning system, the market regulator said.

The recall covers 89,309 vehicles produced in China between May 2005 and July 2011, and 50,143 imported vehicles manufactured between January 2005 and July 2011, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement.

BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd, a joint venture based in northeast China, and BMW China Automotive Trading will check the vehicles and replace the defective parts free of charge.

This comes after Chinese property developers were offering free luxury cars and hefty discounts to lure buyers as lending curbs and funding constraints squeeze their finances.

China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone Holdings. was giving away a BMW Series 3 or X1 to buyers of a three-bedroom unit or townhouse at its Shanghai development. The car, or cash equivalent, equates to about a 10 percent discount on the 3.1 million yuan ($450,000) price of the 89-square-meter apartment.

- REUTERS