Why Rolls-Royce and BMW Recall Won’t Set Off Toyota-Style Fireworks

Interesting | October 12th, 2010 by 12

Last week, BMW submitted a letter to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcing a voluntary recall of approximately 198,000 V8 and V12-powered BMW …

Last week, BMW submitted a letter to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcing a voluntary recall of approximately 198,000 V8 and V12-powered BMW 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars models produced between the 2002 and 2010 model years.

The reason for the recall was a possible leak in the power braking system, potentially causing a vacuum loss and consequent reduction of power braking assistance.

The recall brought back the memory of another automaker, Toyota, that spend most of the 2009 and 2010 rebuilding their brand image that suffered from one of the biggest recalls in the automotive industry.

bmwpac.1Consequentially, many of us began to wonder how and if BMW’s brand image will be affected and what could potential ramifications this recall could have.

Jim Henry of bnet.com put together an interesting analysis of the two recalls and their impact on the brands.

A recall of at least 198,000 BMW (BAMXF.PK) and Rolls-Royce models announced on Sept. 30 sounds like a bigger deal than it is. The recall is unpleasant for BMW, which owns both brands, but the recall on the face of it is nothing like as damaging as this year’s Toyota (TM) recalls affecting millions of cars.

Toyota’s image got dinged for the following reasons that in my opinion don’t apply to BMW.

1. Toyota was THE “quality” brand. The Toyota reputation for bulletproof quality is the biggest reason people buy it. For BMW, the biggest reasons for purchase are styling and performance.

A threat to Toyota’s quality image is a threat to the franchise precisely because it’s disillusioning. It’s like finding out former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Mr. Moral Rectitude himself, was sneaking around with hookers.

2. Toyota’s quality reputation had already begun to show some cracks before “The Big One,” unintended acceleration, struck.

True, BMW historically had a reputation for being expensive to maintain. Some wags say BMW stands for “Break My Wallet.” But “expensive to maintain” is distinct from being saddled with a reputation for being “unreliable.” In addition, BMW has also offered free pre-scheduled maintenance for years, and that has probably built up a lot of good will that will help offset the recall.

Rest of the article at Bnet.com

12 responses to “Why Rolls-Royce and BMW Recall Won’t Set Off Toyota-Style Fireworks”

  1. Laszlo says:

    toyota’s trouble was also bloated by the media and this was initially caused by either GM or Ford (or both)

  2. Andrew says:

    Toyota was also slow to respond/take responsbility for what caused everything as well.

  3. Clinton says:

    Zero incidents reported for BMW

  4. Jacob Haynes says:

    the toyota thing really wasent as bad as the media made it, it think it was just lies so that ppl. could get a new car!

    • Giom says:

      I think you’re wrong. What about the guy that ended up in jail for killing someone with his Toyota. He maintained that the accelerator was stuck, but couln’t prove it. Then when the bananas hit the fan, it was clear that he had mech problems and was released from prison.

      Now that, is not made wors by the media, put yourself in his shoes…

  5. FreudeKing says:

    Thi si very bad in any case – what is up with the “voluntary recall” term??? If it is unsafe for the customer, it should be recalled no matter what.

    Who says that customers don’t buy BMWs for their quality and reliability? As this is a premium car, these aspects should be a given! The extra bits are the performance and styling. Failing on quality and reliability would just put BMW with the likes of Seat – wanting to offer style but lack the quality and reliability.

    All in all, watch out what cost you are cutting. Cutting controls to ensure high quality and relaibility of your products will eventually come and bite you!

    • BIMMER1 says:

      It is voluntary because the owner can choose not to have the recall performed is they don’t want to. Some recalls may change the operation, appearance, or function of a car and the owner prefers to keep things the way they are at their own risk. It’s up to the owner.

  6. Marco B says:

    And now Mercedes-Benz joins the list. They’ve issued a recall for 85000 cars for a steering problem….

  7. Nh32010 says:

    Your analysis is wrong. Main reason is that there are no incidents (yet at least). If someone had an accident with his BMW and got hurt, the press would be all over BMW (like Toyota).

    • Giom says:

      Yes, but the problem, as stated, isn’t life threatening. As I understand it, worst case scenario, you loose the power assistance. Not the brakes.

  8. BIMMER1 says:

    Everyone, this is a totally different situation than Toyota’s issues. #1, toyota’s had no brake override function which would cut the throttle if the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. This has been a standard feature on German cars since the late 90’s. Shame on Toyota for not doing the same by now. With this issue you lose some power brake assist, but the brakes still function it just requires a little more pressure on the pedal, just like all cars used to be before there was such a think as power brakes.

    Also, one could argue that the federal government was also somewhat to blame for Toyota’s issues, as no car is allowed to be sold in the US unless the vehicle’s brakes can overpower the engine at full throttle. This is something the USDOT has to sign off on before the car can be sold in the states, and obviously someone gave the green light there and probably shouldn’t have.

    My favorite recall of all time was in 2009 when some 900,000 honda’s were recalled because the drivers airbag would shoot shards of metal into the head/face of the driver in the event of a crash. YAY HONDA!

    And just to add this, both Honda and Toyota have been setting recall records for the past couple years, having more recalls than any manufacturer had ever had in one year before. That says alot to me.

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