Saturday, June 9, 2012

At BMW Leipzig -- What is Quality?

During the week at BMW Leipzig we had a presentation by W. Heinrich on Quality.  Is quality what BMW defines it as?  Or is it what the customer thinks?
BMW follows the Problem Management Process -- PMP.

It begins with the engineering phase where you need to connect with the customer -- it is then that you need to find most of the quality problems. Fewer should be found at the production phase,  and even less at the customer and service phase.

Long term product tests are in place at 40,000 and 80,000 km.

Not Everyone believes BMW rhetoric however.  Read this by blogger Chris Parente:

 I’ve been worrying about BMW reliability lately. And not about either my M3 or my 530. It’s how BMW’s quality and reliability have worsened in recent years.
A little background — I don’t buy new   BMWs, I like to buy lightly used ones that have been well maintained by their owners. So no one in Munich (or New Jersey, BMW’s NA HQ) cares what I think. Plus, I know and accept the fact that German cars require more preventative maintenance than American or Japanese cars. The payoff is (or at least was) a more engaging, enjoyable driving experience.
But reliability is getting worse, and the word is getting out. The complexity of new BMWs is through the roof, and they are having loads of computer and electronic problems. Consumer Reports ranks the 135i and 335i models as below average for reliability, and Kelley Blue Book ranks the overall value of the current 3 series as “poor” in its Cost to Own index.
Part of the problem is the total lack of maintenance most of the cars receive. Back when owners paid for maintenance, BMW had a long list of items that needed regular attention. You can get that list via an email request to Mike Miller, Tech Q&A columnist for Bimmer Magazine. His email is
Now that BMW pays for new car maintenance, suddenly cars need nothing but oil changes every 15,000 miles! The rank hypocrisy is galling to me. BMW is selling cars today that are disposable after 100,000 miles.
That may be OK for some buyers, who never plan to have the car that long. It’s disastrous for enthusiasts like me, who typically want to own and drive cars well past the end of the extended warranty period — in BMW’s case that’s 6 years or 100K miles, whichever comes first.
BMW might respond hey, our sales are up so we’re giving customers what they want. And you Americans should be thankful our cars don’t cost even more. We have to sell BMWs for less in North America due to the large number of competitors, and we get killed on the exchange rate due to the weakened dollar.
But let’s look closer at those sales numbers. Keep in  mind 2009 was a historically bad year for auto sales. According to, BMW sales in North America were up 12% in July year to year. However, Audi sales were up 17%, Acura sales 44% and Porsche 68% (admittedly from a much smaller base).  The competition has upped their game — what does BMW represent today besides brand cachet and high cost?
Speaking of Mike Miller, he hit it on the head in the latest issue of Bimmer Magazine. There’s no link available, so I include the response below. Mike is responding to a reader writing in concerned about buying a used E90 M3 (the current body style). Even with not including the full reply it’s long – but a good read.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing information regarding BMW cars. this information is really interesting and very useful for car buyer to buy BMW cars.
    Medium Duty Trucks