Auto companies get blamed for a lot of things, from health problems to the economy to people driving around in Hummers they don’t need. But BMW North America has a doozy of an odd case on its hands now, as a California man is blaming the company for a persistent erection.
In an amazing breakthrough for both Science and the study of consumer behavior, researchers have determined that the pleasures of having an expensive car is fleeting and quickly replaced by thinking about the anxieties of day-to-day existence.
While it’s never fun to post car recall news, it’s at least a change of pace to write about a recall that doesn’t involve Toyota. This time it’s BMW, who announced earlier today that they will be recalling a variety of vehicles from model years 2007 to 2010 for possible problems with the fuel pump.
For five years, the people at BrandZ (you know they’re in branding because of the “Z”) have been evaluating customer opinion and awareness of various global brands, and then putting a dollar value on that evaluation for their annual Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report. Here are the top 10 brands on the BrandZ list.
We have an update to this story, with a happy ending for everyone except for the ill-fated Mini Cooper.
Is John asking too much from Zipcar? He writes that he and his wife rented a Mini Cooper for a weekend trip. On their way home, their car first overheated, then burst into flames just minutes after they pulled over. The couple survived uninjured, but didn’t have time to get all of their belongings out of the car. Zipcar sent roadside assistance, reimbursed John and his wife for their car ride home, and gave them a credit good for another daylong car rental. However, the company will not cover any of their personal items destroyed in the fire.
Wondering which car brands are the all-around best? According to the Automaker Report Cards published in Consumer Reports’, Annual Auto Issue, 4 of the top 5 brands are Japanese, with no US car makers making the list — even though there was a 4-way tie for 5th place. Ouch.
Two years ago, an arbitrator ordered a car dealership in Queens, NY to refund a customer’s money under the “lemon law.” You’d think that would be the end of the story, but no… it’s the beginning. Jessica Harrison says she returned the “lemon” 2004 BMW to “Planet Auto Mall” but the dealer claims that they don’t know what happened to the vehicle. Now Jessica has to keep making payments on the missing BMW.
Aaron went shopping on AutoTrader and saw a BMW he liked sold by International Motor Productions. The lady over the phone, Brigette Brown, told him everything about the car was perfect. He put down a $500 deposit and flew down from Chicago to check it out with his friend Nathan. There he discovered the body panels didn’t line up and the tires were mismatched and worn. When he took it for a test drive, it pulled under acceleration and made horrible noises. He took it to a reputable dealer who inspected the car and assessed it had been in an accident and had frame damage. When he took it back to International Motor Productions and asked for his deposit back…
I just drove a Minicooper. Here’s my quick n’ dirty review of the experience:
Reader Brandon took his recently purchased 1996 BMW M3 to a car stereo installation company to have a stereo, speaker set, and GPS system installed. When he got his car back, he noticed that the climate control system was no longer functioning the way it used to. Hot air was leaking from his air ducts when he selected cold air. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the car stereo installation shop to repair the damage they caused, Brandon took the car to some BMW experts and found out that the botched installation had caused over $10,000 in damage to his car. Brandon then tried to get the car stereo shop’s insurance company to pay for the repairs, but they denied his claim on the basis that procedures used for the installation were typical. Brandon says he then took the car stereo shop to small claims court. but the judge ruled against him because the car stereo shop employees claimed that he entered into a oral contract to release them from liability in exchange for a partial refund. Brandon claims he never entered into such a contract. Read his story inside.
Each year Fortune magazine does a survey to determine America’s most admired companies. We took a look at their data and found the top 10 most admired companies for the quality of their products and services. We also found the least admired.
The guy who won a BMW for $60k on eBay only to have the dealership back out is chaffing at the conditions the dealership imposed after the two, following an international onslaught of criticism, came to terms. The two conditions the dealership asked for were 1) That Ken not sell the car for a certain number of years after he bought it and 2) That Ken has to go around to all the internet sites that picked up his story and tell them that the dealership worked out the deal. Ken’s lawyer was able to get the first one struck but Ken really doesn’t like the second one, especially after the following quote from the dealership appeared in the Journal-Star, “These bloggers out there, they have lots of time on their hands to do this.” To this, Ken wrote, “I got placed under the impression that the dealership really isn’t sorry for anything they have done here. Their attitude, it seemed was that I am to blame for the firestorm that culminated, implying that I wasn’t being proactive enough in getting the word out…I had no intention of becoming a pawn for this dealer, not after the way they treated me!” For their part, the dealership says they are ready to sell the car at the agreed-upon price once they receive payment from Ken.
Poor guy. Buys a 2000 540 Bimmer and while he’s driving home, it catches on fire. Some sort of thermostat failure. At first, he was screwed. Commerce, his insurance company, wouldn’t pay for it because they say they don’t cover mechanical failure, and there was no flame. “No flame, no claim,” was their clever explanation. BMW said there were no recalls or faulty parts for that model and so they weren’t going to do anything either. Then the BMW owner posted his complaints on an online message board, got a lawyer, and filed a complaint with the State Insurance Commission. All of a sudden, magically BMW now sends out an engineer to the guy’s house and found that yes, the car had failed. BMW offered him enough of a settlement that he no longer feels queasy about buying BMMs in the future. Ah, the power of putting your dukes up.
Poor Raquel. She only wanted to return her leased BMW. Following instructions to bring her car to any authorized dealership, she arrived at Brecht BMW in San Diego. Brecht’s manager refused to accept the car, a decision he conveyed by screaming in front of her kids, threatening to call the police, and telling her to “go back to Volkswagon” because she didn’t “deserve to own a BMW.” Raquel writes:
As far as the finished product is concerned, The Consumerist is a big fan of BMWs. Sure, there are the occasional hare-brained mistakes like iDrive, but even those missteps seem to be born of an attempt to improve the driving experience. Plus their cars go really fast around corners, our favorite variety of road.