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After a one issue break from BMW-bashing letters, they're baaaaack!!

Discussion in 'Roundel Magazine' started by bcweir, Aug 15, 2009.

    • Member

    bcweir

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    The July issue was great. I loved the articles on the new Z4 roadster, the New York Auto Show coverage, and the resumption of the BMW focus in the regular columns.

    I got the August issue and guess what? The filter on BMW-bashing was off again, including a guy from one letter who bought a Porsche.

    A Porsche? If he was shopping for a Porsche that tells me he was in the wrong showroom to begin with! Porsche has one iconic product - the 911. Nearly everything else is basically a knockoff of the 911. How much can you milk out of one product? Walk into a Porsche showroom and you will be surprised. Porsche has exactly two products with more than two doors - the Cayenne and the Panamera. The Cayenne is a 2.5 ton SUV trying to be a sports car. The Caiman, the Boxster, and the lone, non-truck 4-door offering is the Panamera, which like the Boxster and the Caiman, predictably continues to milk the 911 for all its worth. I don't look at Mr. Porsche owner's change of heart as a criticism against BMW despite the way he worded the letter. It just tells me he had no clue what he wanted in the first place. Back in the 1980s' Porsche had three primary product lines and all were pretty distinguishable from one another - the 911, the 928, and the 944. Only the 911 remains. Today's Porsche is like a young comedian who tells one successful joke and tries to make a stand-up career out of it.

    Anyway, I digress. Let me get back in my lane here. My biggest question to BMWCCA is why are these anti-BMW letters published? The horse has already left the barn. What does this accomplish aside from planting seeds of doubt in the minds of the remaining BMW loyalists like myself? Is there a shortage of positive letters about BMW experiences? What does BMWCCA aim to accomplish by publishing these letters when these people have already decided to leave the fold?
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    az3579

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    Not publishing the views of people whose opinions differ from the rest of us enthusiasts would be unfair. It's like only hearing one side of it, which is not only unfair, but is also biased. Hearing the opinions of those who have bought other brands instead of a BMW brings perspective to the rest of us. Otherwise, we'd all be caught up in our little world of BMWs and would think anything else is inferior.

    BMW isn't superior to anything; it's just another make. There are those of us who wouldn't buy anything else, like myself, but there are others who actually do compare cars against others, such as those trying to decide to buy a BMW or a Lexus, for example. If these kinds of people only hear good things from an enthusiast publication, then they're going to think that there's nothing wrong with the company. Then, when they go and buy the product, they might end up disapointed because there are things that weren't mentioned when they were researching it.

    So, when it comes to Roundel, it's not only Bimmerheads that read it. There are some of those who just happened to have a BMW, as well as other makes. They don't want to hear a one-sided story, because I'm sure there are people who feel their other cars are better than their Bimmer for whatever reason.



    I've been reading what you've been saying in the past about why there are articles non-Bimmer related in Roundel. I get the impression that you're not open to opinions about other makes, and that Roundel should be completely one-sided. I hope this is not the case, because despite many of us loving our Bimmers and never wanting to part with them, some perspective is needed so that we don't get so lost in our little world of BMWs. We need people to share their stories when they go from a BMW to another brand, and why. Constantly re-evaluating our thoughts about a product and its competitors is a good thing.


    And, if you're so worried about people switching to other brands, it has to make you think why. BMW has a lot to do with why people switch, so as much as you may not like it, BMW now makes cars that appeal to more kinds of people, instead of staying relatively focused on an enthusiast's car. I think you need to accept this. Even I am having a hard time understanding why BMW is going more "mainstream", but I at least am dealing with it. Will you?
    • Member

    bcweir

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    I think you're overreacting here. To say that I am one-sided is to say my color is superior to yours because we favor different colors. If Roundel wants to claim they're open to hearing both sides, they've more than fulfillled that - the BMW-bashing is in nearly every issue. Why does it have to be "BMW sux because..." or I bought a " -- because...." OK, you made your point. The letter column has been reading like auto brand warfare lately, and now it's nearly every month. It's one thing to make a point that BMW's are obviously not for everyone -- it's another to have it beaten into you every 30 days. Even Satch drew the line several months ago by saying no more BMW-bashing letters would be printed, and at that point I drew a sigh of relief because I thought I'd heard the end of it. If only that were true. Now I get to look forward to reading about how "awful BMW is" and how such and such switched because they didn't offer an ashtray upholstered in plaid vinyl or with a padded roof and whitewalls.

    They even published MY negative viewpoint last month, so how one-sided can that be? You're entitled to your viewpoint. Please reciprocate by allowing me to express mine too.
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    steven s

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    Someone called to complain there was too much car stuff in Roundel. :confused:

    zee4mike guest

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    I have to agree with bcweir that your reaction is a bit over the top. I'm not sure what it is that you're dealing with. BMW is changing and bringing new people into the fold. My initial ownership experience was with a 330xi, now own a Z4, my next car will likely be a 335 convertible, rear wheel drive only. I'm a convert. BMW is thriving because they DO bring new folks to the brand, not because they build cars for enthusiasts only. Where I agree with you is I do want to hear an occasional honest comparison to keep BMW honest. Let's hope where they have made mistakes, they listen to their customers and correct them.

    Maybe I am one of the "new" customers BMW has attracted but I can tell you the driving experience and both of my BMW's responses to emergency situations where I needed to avoid a crazy driver wandering into my lane have me sold in spite of the RFT's (which by the way I have dumped on my Z4) and has made me into a BMW loyalist.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    LOL that's funny
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Thank you zee4mike. Personally, I believe in voting with my checkbook. No one can fault me for not buying what I don't want. I know BMW's aren't for everyone, despite BMW making a greater appeal to reaching out for customers that might not have otherwise considered a BMW. BMW is in the car business, but it is a business more than anything, and they do have to make money to be able to keep on building cars.

    I prefer BMW's older models, and that's fine. I believe there's room for everybody. Thanks for the vote of confidence zee4mike
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    az3579

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    I should have worded it so it doesn't appear to be "snapping" back, which is not what I intended.

    While it does get annoying to hear "this sucks that sucks" every month, look at all of the letters sent in that offer praise. Those letters greatly outweigh the negative letters (I guess it depends on what you consider negative), and as long as that's the case, I'm happy.



    I guess you can consider me a little annoyed at the fact that they're kind of stripping certain "unique" aspects of their cars. Luckily, the major unique characteristics are still there: awesome handling, refined power, and a huge grin on your face at start -- and end (and for me, an hour after) -- a drive. But, things that I thought made their cars really cool are gone. No longer are window switches on the center console (where they belong), and up until the new F01, no longer was the dash curved towards the driver like a cockpit. No longer does BMW include cool interesting tidbits (in their coupes or cabrios) such as the door handles being closer to your body so that rear passengers can open the doors if need be (like in an E30). No longer are wheel arches obvious, but instead one large flat plane that kind of curves out from the body ever so slightly. It's cool unique design attributes that made BMWs of the 80's and 90's appealing to me, but now all of their designs are pointed towards the mainstream. These probably aren't the things that will put people off from buying the cars, so why not include some uniqueness in the styling department? This is an example of doing things to appeal to a more "general" crowd, and I guess I'll never see cool unique-to-BMW stuff like this again. But, as long as the business stays afloat, I guess I can't complain...

    (of course these aren't things that would prevent me from wanting to own an E90 M3, for example... :D)

    zee4mike guest

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    Couldn't agree with you more!! The unique characteristics you talked about are GREAT history.....thanks for that. My 330xi had window switches on the console. It only took me about 2 years not to reach to my left to roll down the window:D
    • Member

    az3579

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    lol

    Every time I get in my mother's car, a 2002 Nissan Sentra, I immediately get confused on EVERYTHING. First, I always stomp on the dead pedal because there is no clutch. Second, the door handles are far too forward. The windshield wiper stalk goes in the wrong direction (down to activate). The window switches are in the wrong place, near the door handle. They didn't design the car correctly!!! :rolleyes:
    (Oh, and did I mention that there is no keyhole to open the door(s) on the passenger side? I always have to go to the passenger side or trunk to open because the driver's side doesn't work... )



    These unique characteristics that I mentioned before about the handling, power, and fun factor played true today. I spent all day autocrossing, and as tired as I was, I still did not hesitate to drive down half an hour to pick up a computer to fix and then drive back. Nor will I hesitate to do so a couple of days later when I have to go back to drop it off. :D
    (Of course the one "characteristic" my car is lacking is the "refined power"... there is no power. lol)
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    kkratoch

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    I do not want to speak for the magazine staff, but I thought they did there best to publish ALL letters. (not just positive ones)
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    CRKrieger

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    That is true. There is no reason not to.

    I have certainly heard plenty of times that ROUNDEL is a 'company mouthpiece', but it is not and it never has been. I have read nearly every ROUNDEL ever published and I know the folks who started this club and who published it. They intentionally remained as objective as they could about the cars and the company. That is because our club's purpose is to promote enjoyment of the marque, not simply to boost its sales. Had it not been for the ROUNDEL gathering and publishing our strongly expressed opinions, there is a very good chance we never would have had an E36 M3 in the US. BMW did not want to bring us one, so we complained long and loudly about it. That it incidentally boosted sales was a side benefit to those who simply wanted to buy one. We also roundly booed M Brand manager Eric Wensberg when he sheepishly announced, at Oktoberfest '94, that said M3 would also come with an automatic and cupholders.

    On a smaller scale, ROUNDEL is a dependable source to learn about common faults that BMWs have had over the years. BMW the company will rarely admit there is anything wrong with any of their cars, but we know better. From the days of yanking the radiator and carburetor out of a Pinto because they worked better in a 2002 to the current latent admission from BMW that, yes, the E36 does have a problem with the floor ripping out around the suspension mounts, ROUNDEL has always been there with the best and most dependable information available.

    We know what we want and we want it in a BMW, but if what we want comes from another manufacturer and not from BMW, then we may just buy it instead. There is nothing wrong with that or with talking about it. On those rare occasions when the company actually listens to us, they don't lose out in the process, so it is important for us to set ourselves apart not as worshipers, but as those loyal enough to honestly criticize.

    If ROUNDEL filters out everything negative about BMW, then it betrays our purpose as a club and it becomes a company shill. I, for one, do not want that.
    • Member

    BMWCCA1

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    It's Club policy. If you don't like the policy, see about having it changed.
    Read the Club's Operations Manual, available right here on this site: http://bmwcca.org/index.php?pageid=ops_manual

    Or try this excerpt:
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    eam3

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    In my Porsche days I was a member of the PCA. The club magazine was nothing but people raving about how wonderful Porsche is and how perfect their cars are. I also glanced at a couple of issues of the MB club magazine and it was the same thing. That's the reason that even through those years I didn't own a BMW, I remained a member of the club. It is, naturally, a little biased towards BMW but they also point out faults and criticize the marque when needed. You don't get that anywhere else.

    One thing to nitpick, if you think the only Porsche worth its salt is the 911, then you definitely have not driven a Cayman in anger. My brother in law, who used to drive a 996TT X50, got a loaner Cayman S when his car was in service and was blown away by how well it drove. I had a chance to drive it and while nowhere near as fast as his TT, it was a model of precision and balance.
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    CRKrieger

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    X2! You can add the Audi Club North America (previously the Audi Quattro Club USA) to that list of marque worshipers. The only club that's even close to honest about its chosen marque is this one. That's what I like about y'all ... ;)

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