The recall covers 5- and 6-series cars from the 2003 to 2010 model years. The company says in rare cases, a battery cable covering in the trunk was incorrectly installed.
The defect could prevent the car from starting and could lead to a fire. BMW says it knows of no accidents or injuries from the defect.
BMW said owners will be notified by letter and that the repair should take about 30 minutes.
The recall affects 290,000 cars in Germany and 1.3 million worldwide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.