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Rising expectations, sure. Perfection, never ... (archive)

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Posted by Ausgang on October 21, 1999 at 09:27:20:

In Reply to: Why I'm probably not going 2 posted by buy a 328i (WAY LONG) on October 21, 1999 at 08:26:06:

: http://www.edmunds.com/edweb/longterm/99BMW.328i.lt.html

: I'm just livid. I love driving the cars, but I can't bare the agony of ordering the car because I'm too worried about what I'll feel like a year from now.

Honestly, are you really livid over a product you have yet to purchase? Glad you enjoy driving. Are you sure your being worried is proportional to what the future may actually hold one year from now? You don't expect every reported flaw to be included on your car, I hope.

: The link above is just another example. How can BMW be so incompetent with the design/build of their cars? Let me get this straight. BMW NA has known about window "screeching/creeking" sounds, chronically warped rotors, lousy HK sound, steering floatiness, spontaneious engine power loss, etc., by lurking on this board. Even the Edmunds long-term test 328i has many of these problems. I have yet to hear any kind of a response from BMW to either the owners, or the board (even via the "back door" sources out there (you know who you are)).

Frankly, there's a big step that OEMs must take between noticing a problem and eliminating it -- without causing new problems. Don't forget, we're really talking mostly about the competence of the supply base. (which is shockingly similar across many marques) I'm actually a bit surprised quality problems aren't greater across the auto industry as the current level of excess capacity could easily lead to cutting corners 'to compete'.

: Do I expect a lot? You _bet_ I do! I expect _perfection_ for just under the $40K I'll be spending on a loaded 328i . . . I can get very close to perfection from Lexus (IS300) or from Audi (A4 or new A6 Bi-Turbo, 6-speed, Quattro).

You should expect a lot. Perfection, however is not available at any price or through any manufacturer. Look at the most expensive cars in the world and you sure won't find perfection there. Add to this the speed with which new (and complex) systems are added to cars like BMW, MB, etc. Lexus is indeed a quality leader, but far from perfect. Even their JD Power survey results show an average of more than one defect per car in the first 90 days.

: Okay, done with the venting, but for now my order is cancelled until I test drive the new Audi.

A fun car to drive. Although, don't expect quality to be better there from what the research shows.

: Note to BMW: GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! The Internet changes EVERYTHING it comes to customer satisfaction. Problems, even rare ones, becomes known globally in minutes. If they're out there, then you've got to address them quickly and thoroughly by letting us (owners and potential owners) know what you've done or are doing to correct them. Got it?

BMW is actually 'getting its act together' speedily from industry reports. (The exception clearly being the Albatross of Rover Cars.) As for the internet, I'm not sure it changes things that much for the OEMs. (more for the retailors) It's not like there hasn't been a ton of information and reporting available on the quality, safety, emission, performance, and other standards of each OEM. I do agree 100% that OEMs (BMW included) are lagging in recognizing the speed with which reports of flaws/defects (and false rumours) spread through their potential customer base.

I hope we will soon see some forward-thinking OEM actually sponsor a forum such as this to offer support and advice. Their fear of flames and negative comments likely needs to be over-come first.

So, go take a drive in the Audi. If you give it an honest evaluation, there's better than a 50/50 chance we'll see you back here.

Hope so,


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