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The real story about BMW services

BMW is a premium car brand and BMW cars desirable by people who have passion for cars. Owning and driving a premium car has many advantages. Reliability, durability, functionality and quality are the most important values of a premium car. Design and looks are very personal opinions and are therefore not part of this article . A modern car is a very complex package which combines various aspects like mechanical, electronics, safety and comfort parts. All parts are fully customizable to suite the driver and passengers during business and free time rides. Every car needs maintenance since its contains parts which are designed to wear out (like tires and breaks) , have limited life time (like oil and lubricants) or need inspection and have to be changed or checked multiple times during the cars lifetime. Other parts are designed to last complete life time of the car.

First class service

BMW claims that BMW provides first class services. What this claim really means is not defined by BMW. We are committed to providing you with first-class service that delivers best-in-class care for your vehicle, and an uncompromising driving experience.1 As a BMW car owner you would expect that when you order your new BMW and tick the options of available options, that the whole package is guaranteed to get first class service as described with the fancy words which describe the commitment of BMW services. This article proves that BMW AG service departments dont contribute to the success story of BMW automotive, and employees of these departments behave arrogant and ignore sincere customer complaints. BMW Employee basic principles To put the behavior of the service departments of BMW AG in context in this paragraph the BMW basic principles which are valid for every employee of the BMW group are copied. BMW AG claims that: During the next decade we aim to secure our position as the worlds leading manufacturer of premium automobiles. For this reason all of our strategies including our corporate culture are conceived on a long-term basis and are constantly target-oriented.2 The following principles of the BMW Group form the basis of this long-term and target-oriented action2.

1 2 Basic principles for employees

Customer orientation Our customers decide whether or not our company is successful. Our customers are at the centre of all of our actions and the results of our actions must be judged from a perspective of their benefit to the customer. Peak performance We aim to be the best. Each of us has to rise to this challenge, meaning that each employee must be prepared to achieve a high degree of efficiency. We aspire to belong to an elite, but without being arrogant, because it is the company and its products that count the most and nothing else. Responsibility Each BMW Group employee bears personal responsibility for the success of the company. This also applies within a team, where each individual must be aware of his or her responsibility. In this respect we are fully aware that we all work together in achieving corporate goals. For this reason we also work together in the interests of the company. Effectiveness Only sustainable and effective results are of benefit to the company. When assessing management, it is only the effect of performance on results that counts. Adaptability In order to achieve continuous success we must adapt quickly and flexibly to new demands. Therefore, we regard change as a chance and the ability to adapt as the prerequisite for making use of this chance. Dissent In the search for the best solution everyone has the duty to bring to light any disagreement. The solutions found are then resolutely implemented by all involved. Respect, trust, fairness We treat one another with respect. Management is based on mutual trust, trust is based on calculability and fairness. Employees Business enterprises are made by people. Employees are our strongest factor of success. Consequently, personnel decisions belong to the most crucial decisions. Leading by example Every executive has an exemplary function.

Sustainability We regard sustainability as a lasting and positive contribution towards the economic success of the company. This is the basis of our ecological and social responsibility. Society We consider awareness of social responsibility an inseparable part of our corporate self-conception. Independence We secure the BMW Groups entrepreneurial independence through sustainable and profitable growth. BMW Group BMW Group's activities comprise the development, production and marketing of automobiles and motorcycles.3 In this statement of the BMW group its remarkable that service activities are missing. Strategy Identifying potential and encouraging growth. Knowing what we represent. Recognizing where our strengths lie and making the best use of every opportunity. Following a clear strategy. Goals we have attained are in essence the point of departure for new challenges. This is the philosophy that inspires every individual at the BMW Group. It influences the company's structure and it plays a vital role in the decision-making process. Our corporate ethos finds its expression in the uncompromising pursuit of the superlative. The result? Outstanding brands with an unmistakable profile. Automobiles and motorcycles which fascinate people all over the world and which win legions of new admirers every day. And a degree of success which sees the BMW Group go from strength to strength.3

With BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the BMW Group is the world's only car maker to pursue a purely premium strategy for all market sectors covered by its brands, from exclusive smaller cars to top-of-the-range luxury limousines. 3 BMW Organization BMW AG located in Munich is the organization which develops and manufactures BMW Cars. BMW AG purchases some parts from other OEM companies. Some of these parts are directly related to official options which can be found in the catalogue. BMW AG has centralized customer services departments and the front office of the customer services department is outsourced to GKK4. However the customer service department of BMW AG encourages BMW drivers to contact the local BMW dealer for services, the remainder of this paper shows that this ambition is too high for tough problems. BMW dealers are individual companies, which represents the brand in a certain area, and have no formal relationships with other dealers. BMW dealers have a formal relationship with the BMW country organization which is part of BMW AG.

3 4 Company portrait

The BMW service center is often a department of a local BMW dealer and is responsible to gather sufficient knowledge to support BMW cars which are brought to the service center . BMW Service center The perception of a BMW owner is that the role of a BMW service center is to maintain and repair defects at BMW cars including genuine BMW options without any restriction. The role of a BMW service center is despitely not meeting this definition. Unfortunately the remainder of this article proves that the capabilities of the BMW service center are overrated. The quality and customer focus of a company can be measured at its best when problems occur. The meaning of nicely written words by the marketing department get their real value when tough problems are destroying the driving experience. At this moments the service center is being challenged with regards to the real available knowledge and available skills. The loyalty of BMW AG is being challenged when problems are demonstrable design and/or production failures. The BMW service center is often a department of a local BMW dealer which represents the brand in a certain area. BMW dealer, however are individual companies, which have no formal relationships with other dealers. BMW dealers have only a formal relationship with the BMW country organization. BMW service centers are the first contact for maintenance and problem solving and present themselves to provide first class (premium) services . The BMW service centers arent able to meet the statement they make, because BMW service centers are simply incapable to full fill all requirements caused by their own limitations : BMW service centers are mostly connected to a BMW dealer. When a BMW car is not bought at the commercial department of the same company, BMW service centers are not willing to provide unpaid services. In other words, when a BMW car is not bought at the BMW dealer the service department is not willing to deliver premium services. However this is not meeting the marketing definition of the BMW service network, this practice is most common for BMW service centers. BMW service centers arent prepared (educated) to solve problems. BMW service centers say that they deliver first class (premium) services , but in fact the engineers of a BMW service center replace premium parts as described in the service manual. When a problem is not described in the service manual, the owner of the car has in fact a problem to get it fixed because the BMW service center is incapable to handle undocumented problems. BMW service centers dont share knowledge which causes that specific knowledge is being kept within one service center. The consequence is that problems cant be solved efficiently, but always cause a (steep) learning curve and high costs. BMW service centers arent educated to investigate and solve electronic failures and is a threat for each BMW owner BMW service centers arent using customer/car relationship management intelligence. Every customer of the service center is being handled individually without using similarities or previous experiences to enhance the service level.

BMW Customer services BMW Customer service is closely located to the headquarter office in Munich and has representatives in each country where BMW vehicles are being sold. The expectation of a BMW owner is that BMW

customer services is a BMW department which assists customers with all issues which can arise during the lifetime of a BMW vehicle. Unfortunately BMW customer services is probably the most incapable department of BMW AG. However BMW customer services can be contacted by a contact form at the website of BMW AG, this department has several serious shortcomings: The front office of BMW Customer services is evidently outsourced to GKK. From experiences with other customer services, BMW customer services (executed by GKK) has no follow-up procedure, which causes that issues arent handled adequately. And BMW customer services doesnt measure customer satisfaction and ignores feedback on dissatisfied results. Other questions which are send to BMW customer services are never answered, or pointed to the BMW web site regardless whether the answer can be found there, or being forwarded without being monitored. When a request has passed the front office of BMW Customer services and is forwarded to a BMW employee, the most awful experience ever with a customer service department is being presented by people who claim to be part of the BMW company, the company which develop and manufacture great and high quality cars. Employees of the BMW customer services clearly dont have experience with customer services (see also Maturity of BMW services) and the attitude of employees is to deny problems and avoid any responsibilities. In situations where BMW is clearly responsible (fi. design and production failures) all employees of the BMW customer services department start ignoring messages even when a sound foundation and evidence is provided. BMW Customer services department not organized to support customers which can be derived from the company portrait (see BMW group) and is clearly shown by the way issues are handled by employees. Employees of the BMW customer services department dont have the personal network to forward questions or problems to be solved.

BMW design and production failures The main goal of this article is to prove that BMW AG is avoiding responsibly with regards to failures which are demonstrably caused by design and production failures. In most ideal circumstances design and production failures are being detected during the initial warranty period of a new car. But in most cases design and production failures do cause problems after the initial warranty period and the BMW service center charges the owner to solve the problem.

Swirl flaps
The number one design problem is a failure in the construction of an inlet part which can lead to serious damage to the engine and when it occurs will cause high costs to repair. The BMW diesel engines produced between 2000 and 2008 all have a particular design problem with inlet manifold butterfly flaps (commonly known as swirl flaps). Swirl flaps are used inside the inlet manifold of the BMW M47TU & M57TU diesel engines to vary the length of inlet manifold tract subject to load

and anticipated demand.5 BMW/Pierburg made a decision to manufacture those diesel engine swirl flaps from steel. BMW swirl flaps will commonly fail in such a way that they either: drop an affixing screw and or the upper section of spindle. If this does not stop the engine the remaining swirl flap falling completely in will! The outcome of such failure is not pretty in the slightest. Diesel engines piston cycles at least at 60 revs per minute, so an ingested metal piece fallen off the butterfly flap will be slammed by the moving internal components. Most often one or more piston ends up being severely damaged along with several valves, an injector and the cylinder head, with possible collateral damage spreading to the turbo as well! Later; around 2004, BMW addressed this fault; the swirl flap supporting spindle was increased in size along with the affixing screw diameter. Despite the increased spindle diameter, we have seen and had numerous reports from customers all over the country of modified type swirl flap failure!

Non durable wiring

Another major design problem is that BMW uses wiring which is not sufficient durable to survive the lifetime of the vehicle. Broken wires which travel to doors or back lid are common complaints and are reported frequently. Investigation to this point shows demonstrably that BMW used wrong specification of wires in areas where the wire is bend frequently.

Water tightness
BMW designers decided to mount the active antenna in all Touring models at a position where in practice water leakages can cause damage to the electronics. By design it should be guaranteed that electronics parts cant get wet and damaged by water. Problems with the active antenna is another design problem.

Poor quality control

BMW uses multiple vendors which supply parts for BMW cars. Quality control of BMW with regards to used parts which are supplied by OEM suppliers is demonstrably insufficient. However the parts carry QC stickers, several electronic parts have been found faulty (not soldered parts) caused by production failures. Electronic parts (like iDrive, Bluetooth, Radio and navigation system) which are not manufactured properly can function properly for a certain period of time, but will fail in the long run. Properly designed and manufactured electronic parts easily can hold out for the whole life time of the vehicle.


Poor quality control part and arrogant behavior BMW reports at the website that the Nokia E71 can drop the bluetooth connection when the battery of the Nokia E71 is low6. The combination of a Nokia E71 phone with the genuine BMW snap-in-adapter (which are produced by Peiker) is instable because of a structural production failure in the snap-in-adapter for the Nokia E71. All snap-in-adapters for Nokia E71 of hardware version 1.0 contain an improper soldered antenna connection which causes distortion and causes that the Bluetooth can be dropped during phone calls. BMW AG customer services totally ignores this production failure. Communication with BMW AG customer services about this production failure shows incompetent behavior of BMW employees who avoid any responsibility and try to conclude that every failure with Bluetooth is caused by a incompatible combination of phone and BMW genuine car kit. Extensive analysis with multiple snap-inadapters for Nokia E71 and participation of an official BMW dealer proves that the production failure causes dropping Bluetooth connections. The involved BMW dealer admits that dealers arent equipped nor trained by BMW to solve problems in this area. When a customer tries to share the results and prove of a production failure BMW AG starts to act arrogant7 and refuses to accept and handle the situation. Incomplete Lifecycle management The BMW vacancy of a Life cycle manager at BMW the Netherlands is promising at first sight. BMW Group Netherlands is a subsidiary of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. The branch in Rijswijk adjusts Premium Brands BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad in detail on the Dutch market. Customer satisfaction is taking priority. For the BMW automobile brand management division, we are therefore looking for an experienced, enterprising Lifecycle Manager who can empathize with the expectations of our customers products and related services have. In the remainder of the vacancy it becomes painfully clear that BMW doesnt understand the real meaning of Lifecycle management. With active lifecycle management you keep the volumes and the brand identity of the model series which are entrusted to you - from market introduction to the end of production - to the desired level. The proper definition of lifecycle management is: product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal10. BMW clearly focuses on development, marketing and sales. BMW after sales disciplines are missing in Lifecycle management and is therefore incomplete.

6 7

Incomplete service offerings Every car needs regular maintenance. But also the maps of the navigation system needs to be updated on a frequent basis so the navigation stays accurate and reliable. Every year, some 15 per cent of Europe's road network is affected by changes, such as new commercial and residential developments, and new bypasses. There are also changes to hotels, petrol stations, service stations, restaurants and other key locations. If you as a BMW owner - send a request for a maintenance subscription you will find out that BMW doesnt provide any services with regards to updating the maps of a BMW navigation system. Most BMW owners are interested in a carefree service with regards to regular maintenance of the car and this should include providing regular updates of the navigation maps. Like BMW ConnectedDrive should strongly consider to offer a subscription for the whole lifetime of the vehicle instead besides of offering updates on an ad-hoc basis.

Ignorance of statutory compliance Every country does have specific laws regarding motorized vehicles. Smooth delivery of vehicles to countries is being supported by the countries by approval of series instead of individual vehicles. The party which delivers the vehicle to the owner is responsible to deliver vehicles which are fully compliant with local laws and regulations. The towing hook of a car has certain statutory requirements in the Netherlands. A specific component is required to secure the safety cable or breaking cable of the trailer to the car. BMW dealers in the Netherlands do forget to mount this safety component which results that the towing hook is not compliant with the road traffic act and the driver is not allowed to use the towing hook.

Unreliable BMW promises in October 2011 in a press article8 that ConnectedDrive RTTI (Real Time Traffic Information) will be available soon in the Netherlands. In April 2013 RTTI is still not available and employees of BMW dont want to explain this situation but send messages that further no RTTI for cars older than July 2013 correspondence will be ignored 9 However its proven that RTTI can be enabled for all cars with the options 609, 633 , 612 en 616, BMW totally ignores this fact and is ignoring all arguments to enable RTTI for cars older than July 2013.

8 9 BMW Dealer Bulletin - Real Time Traffic Information

BMW behavior and performance Analysis of the behavior of the BMW company are related to the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) 10, which is an official service mark. Level 0 Process is not available. Level 1 - Initial (Chaotic); It is characteristic of processes at this level that they are (typically) undocumented and in a state of dynamic change, tending to be driven in an ad hoc, uncontrolled and reactive manner by users or events. This provides a chaotic or unstable environment for the processes. Level 2 Repeatable; It is characteristic of processes at this level that some processes are repeatable, possibly with consistent results. Process discipline is unlikely to be rigorous, but where it exists it may help to ensure that existing processes are maintained during times of stress. Level 3 Defined; It is characteristic of processes at this level that there are sets of defined and documented standard processes established and subject to some degree of improvement over time. These standard processes are in place (i.e., they are the AS-IS processes) and used to establish consistency of process performance across the organization. Level 4 Managed; It is characteristic of processes at this level that, using process metrics, management can effectively control the AS-IS process (e.g., for software development ). In particular, management can identify ways to adjust and adapt the process to particular projects without measurable losses of quality or deviations from specifications. Process Capability is established from this level. Level 5 Optimizing; It is a characteristic of processes at this level that the focus is on continually improving process performance through both incremental and innovative technological changes/improvements.


Completeness of BMW services When a BMW owner brings his/her car to a BMW service center for regular maintenance one would expect that all required maintenance is being executed. Investigations show that: Maintenance checklist in the service guide is incomplete which causes that problems that can be prevented arent detected premature by BMW services. The checklist isnt filled in completely so the driver cant validate which items on the checklist are really checked BMW services isnt aware of actions. BMW owners have to point BMW services to additional (temporary) services offerings.

Maturity of BMW organization

In the following chart the maturity of the BMW organization is shown against the CMM model. The following areas where analyzed from a customer experience and rewarded with the levels of CMM. Sales Marketing Development Manufacturing Planned maintenance Unplanned maintenance Troubleshooting Mechanical failures Electronics Knowledge sharing Support on production failures Support on design failures
Sales 5 Support on design failures 4 Support on production failures 3 2 1 Knowledge sharing 0 Manufacturing Development Marketing


Planned maintenance

Mechanical failures Troubleshooting

Unplanned maintenance

Above chart shows the strengths and weaknesses of the BMW company. Especially at the after sales area BMW has serious shortcomings.

Maturity of BMW services

In the following chart the maturity of BMW services is shown against the CMM model. The following areas where analyzed from a customer experience and rewarded with the levels of CMM: Answer requests of your customers Listen to your customers Stick to your promises Deal with complaints Be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it. Train your staff to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Take the extra step. Throw in something extra.

Answer requests 5 Throw in something extra. 4 3 2 1 Take the extra step. 0 Stick to your promises Listen to your customers

Train your staff to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it.

Deal with complaints

Actual behavior of BMW services The actual behavior of BMW services is at a disrespectful level towards customers with problems. These are actual quotes of BMW employees which were confronted with above mentioned design and production failures and the problem was still present. We kindly emphasize that all further correspondence received from yourself on this particular topic will be read with interest and archived without further response. [Service manager of BMW AG] We would be grateful if you dont write us anymore in this case. [Service manager of BMW AG] We have already answered you finally. We have no further information for you in this issue. [Service manager of BMW AG] You dont have a contract with BMW, so we wont help you. [Service manager of BMW AG] Unfortunately I cant do more for you. [Director of BMW dealer] We are available to support the BMW dealer, not the BMW customer. [BMW Group customer services the Netherlands] We dont ask our customers about whether the situation is satisfactory. When we dont hear anything I assume the problem is solved [Sales manager BMW Dealer]

Complaints about BMW services

At the internet a lot of complaints about BMW services are published. However BMW has company policies which state that BMW has certain ambitions with respect to customer satisfaction, BMW is not really interested to practice any activities to support the company statements. To further support the main message of this publication, a questionnaire was organized to get more insight about bad experiences of BMW owners with BMW services.

The BMW dealer was not able to support me at all

BMW customer services did not answer my questions

Advise of BMW customer service didn't solve the problem

The problem is still not being solved by BMW

BMW blames another party and ignores the problem

BMW refuses to solve the problem within the warranty period

BMW is not able to answer any question about car electronics

The results on Customer service score board about Issue resulution, reachability, cancellation, friendliness and product knowledge are very worse for a company that claims to provide premium services.


Respect for the Company principles

Last 2 years a number of BMW employees were involved in serious and tough problems with BMW cars which were all related to design and production problems. The real performance of a company can be measured at its best during times real effort is being required. This analysis proves, based upon the direct relationship with the company principles, BMW services is not able to provide the services promised by the statement that BMW services delivers first class (premium) services.

Customer orientation 5 Leading by example 4 3 2 Employee Customer services BMW AG 1 Respect, trust, fairness 0 Responsibility Employee Customer Relations BMW NL Coordinator Customer relations BMW NL Consultant Customer Relations BMW NL Director BMW Dealer Service Manager BMW Dealer Service Coordinator BMW Dealer Dissent Effectiveness Sales Manager BMW dealer Peak performance Dr.-Ing N. Reithofer Service manager BMW AG Service manager BMW AG


This analysis shows that: The Dr. ing. N. Reithofer doesnt respect and doesnt act as a leader with regards to the company principles and has no role in the areas of after sales and services . BMW services has poor customer orientation BMW services is not capable of delivering peak performances BMW services is aware of its responsibility, but doesnt take the responsibility to provide services. BMW services is not effective in providing services BMW services is not adaptable, so its impossible for BMW services to handle unexpected situations adequately BMW services doesnt respect customers and shows arrogant behavior BMW services doesnt take the lead in case of problems or dissents. BMW services heavily depends on the Sales department to prevent customers from leaving.

Disrespectful behavior of BMW employees

However the BMW company basic principles do contain multiple statements how to deal with customers, BMW employees ignore these principles structurally. Employees of BMW AG do behave demonstrably disrespectful11,12 towards customers which is very bad news for customers and shareholders.

Responsibility of BMW
When a customer buys a product of a significant value one would reasonably expect that the after sales is well organized. A car has parts which are meant to be replaced periodically, but does have more parts which should last during the whole lifecycle of the vehicle. At a point where parts are failing too early or caused by design and/or production failures one would reasonably expect that a respected company which offers first class (premium) services has a sound procedure to deal with the consequences of the failures. Behavior of companies which is conflicting with reasonable expectations is called non-conformity. BMW is like other vendors - statutory responsible for latent defects and customers are protected against latent defects by law. Responsibilities with regards to latent defects which are caused by design or production failures are not limited to a warranty period. Earlier mentioned design and production failures in BMW cars manifest itself after several years and most of the time when the warranty period has been passed a long time ago. Conclusion The conclusion of this analysis about the performance of BMW services is very very sad news for loyal BMW owners. When a BMW owner has a problem and taken to the BMW services organization, there is a high chance the problem will never be solved. The reason for this situation are many and the main reasons are very clear: BMW employees, including senior management do ignore company principles. BMW employees, including senior management do ignore customers with sincere complaints. BMW services is not part of the BMW group strategy, only develop and sell cars is the target. BMW services has no customer focus, but is only equipped to execute planned maintenance. BMW services lack proper knowledge to support the whole car.

The consequence of the actual situation of BMW services is that the situation will get worse since cars will more complex in the future and electronic parts will increase. For a BMW owner who expects the BMW organization to be a mobility partner, will discover that the BMW dealer is not more than a service center for planned maintenance. Other activities are executed on a best effort approach and cant be awarded with first class (premium) services.

11 12 (BMW employees joyriding)

The Main conclusion is that BMW servers has lost the connection with BMW automotive which produces great cars, but there is no place on this planet where the great BMW cars can be fixed once a serious problem occurs.

What are the options Based on the conclusion the BMW service organization is clearly not able to solve tough problems. This doesnt mean the owner of the vehicle has to deal with bad luck and carry the consequences of the situation. European law about liability of defect products (85/374/EEC13) provides the right to every customer to contact and claim responsibility for product failures to every party involved. If you have any damage above Eur. 500,00 which is caused by one or more design and/or production failures you are able to claim this damage. The BMW organization (which includes the dealer network and BMW group) is statutory responsible to support the vehicle during all stages of the lifecycle of the car. The following steps should finally lead to a fair and satisfactory situation: The first step is to discuss the situation with the BMW dealer. Most dealers are actively avoiding discussions about non-conformity, but arent aware of non- compliance with the law when the dealer isnt willing to take responsibility. The second step is to write a registered letter to the dealer to claim responsibility of the dealer. The third step is to involve BMW AG into the situation. At the end the car is manufactured by BMW AG and BMW AG is ultimately responsible to solve the consequences of latent defects caused by design and production failures. Since BMW AG is the organization that develops and manufactures the cars, all knowledge is available at BMW AG. The fourth step is to forward the claim of costs which are caused by design and production failures to BMW AG. The address is: BMW AG Petuelring 130 80788 Mnchen Germany Department: Product management automobile und Aftersales The last step is to be persistent and start a legal procedure against BMW AG with regards to the consequences of latent defects and ignorance of EU law 85/374/EEC. However BMW AG will try to avoid any responsibility, statutory BMW AG is obliged to support customers and compensate the damage caused by production failure.


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