Column: The M brand is special after all

Interesting | September 23rd, 2011 by 11
bmw m showroom 750x490

For the skeptics in the group that feel BMW is watering down the M brand, the company has announced a special center program to promote …

For the skeptics in the group that feel BMW is watering down the M brand, the company has announced a special center program to promote and differentiate M brand vehicles in showrooms. The program is called the M Certified Center initiative and combines three key elements: Comprehensive Sales Training, Interior and Exterior Communications Components, and specific M Certified materials.


M Certification incorporates specialized training of M Sales and Service professionals trained to cater to the demanding M customer with a dedicated M showroom display and specialized M product knowledge. The M display will be highly visible and provide an exclusive experience for M customers.

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The elements help create the proper selling environment to highlight M vehicles and accessories. Participating as an M Certified Center is a voluntary, opt in program with annual certification requirements to maintain M Certification. The M Certified Center will also afford exclusive M brand advertising opportunities and additional M leads for M Certified Centers.

Certification Elements

To become an M Certified Center, the dealership is required to send two personnel annually to one day of extensive sales training at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, SC. This training is exclusive to M Certified candidates and will include special tips for working with “top-tier” M brand clients will learn about a complete suite of BMW M products as well as those of BMW’s key competitors. Among other things, this training will teach dealerships to properly sell the engineering advantages built into every M vehicle.

Training is currently scheduled for September and November.

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Benefits of M Certified

M has always set the standard when you think performance and epitomizes “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Being an M Certified Center can set a dealership above the rest and highlight it as specializing in “M” sales and service. Some of the benefits of being an M Certified Center:

• Additional support from Germany’s M division (ZS) for M Certified Centers.

• Access to M Power Experience (Portugal).

• Special sneak previews of M products.

• Race Events – coordinate customers/center personnel events with driver appearances.

• Ability to run ads using M Certified Center.

• identifies M Certified Centers for prospective M customers.

Centers will also be able to advertise using the M Logo as an “M Certified Sales and Service Center”

Currently, BMW NA is working with the Dealer Forum to identify even more benefits to the M Certification Program. M Certified Dealers may receive additional consideration with respect to limited special production M vehicles (such as Frozen Black, Grey or Silver).

I’ll be heading to the Performance Center next month for my training for inclusion in the program. Stay tuned for details in the programs impact.

11 responses to “Column: The M brand is special after all”

  1. Adam says:

    Neat, I wonder if this will lead to some dealers becoming known for their M programs and show room areas.  I think BMW is pretty creative about how it promotes the M brand these days.  I never really thought the brand was being “watered down” the way I see it these days; Porsche is about to unveil a second SUV, Maserati has one, Ferrari now make a AWD hatchback, yes while these changes are ones I may not have personally made, they are what the market and therefore the money want, I’m willing to accept new creativity in the M division if it means they get more money to play with, cuz you can do more with more ;-)

  2. M3power says:

    Creating more exclusivity and feeling of “specialness” for the M brand is fine. The question I’m really concerned about are M’s vehicle’s performance and handling. BMW better not watered down those…

  3. Mateozunic says:

    ///M never needed such thing. Why? Because it was M. M stands for (actually it was) ultimate driving experiance. Engine, gearbox, chassis, steering feel etc. Today, M cars are just average like audi’s RS, cadillac V, Merc AMG,…….so it’s normal bmw try to do something to make it special.

  4. Geoff says:

    Special showroom areas don’t make ///M special. Imagine if Audi started doing that with the S line… It’s the cars that matter. Not the pedestals BMW puts them on.

    • Manny Antunes says:

      If you’re comparing Audi’s “S” line to M, then you’re not long for this site. “R” can barely hang in there with M.

  5. says:

    Skeptics saying the M brand is being watered down? LOL, some more M branding in a dealer to make people feel special while they dilute the brand with cars like the 1M which do not even have an M specific motor. This is nothing. They need to focus on the cars, not putting the M symbol everywhere. 

  6. Steve says:

    The M brand is being watered down. Putting the badge on sport package cars and hideous made in USA SUVs has tarnished it forever. Huge sell out by BMW.

    • T. says:

      Munich Automobiles in Singapore which is shown in the photographs is our model for M Specific showrooms and areas within existing dealerships.
      Further M specific showrooms like Singapore are earmarked for China in 2012 as BMW M are looking at another increase on the back of last years sales increase over 300%
      in China thanks in turn to the M3 , the X5M and X6M and the BMW 1er M Coupe.

      Further M Specifc showrooms will follow but not all will get a showroom devoted to M although they will all be designated specific M areas within existing showrooms.

      I do not say the M badge is watered down but it is a victim of success. Yes it is true that M was once perceived as an “underground” badge. But we did not have such markets for new M products as we do now. M might be more mainstream than before but each model has delivered and kept the M philosophy of Power and Precison. We produce cars that people want to drive. But we have to accept that some markets prefer the image of the M and the status rather than the engineering. That is just progress.

      If you compare M in China for example. M is perceived as a youth brand, it is very popular with younger customers and is very much responsible for high growth within Asia.

      The introduction of the X5M and X6M is very much responsible for the high growth of M sales.
      in BMW terms the X5M and X6M are perceived as “volume” sellers because at the end of each sales year
      They have some of the highest figures for M sales. Both XM’s are also highly profitable.
      Which is why the X3M and X4M are coming to production. 
      If anything the inclusion of both models and the X4 is testament to the success of the BMW werk Spartanburg workers whose skills and expertise produce the X3 , X5,X5M ,X6 and X6M for the global market. It will also be very beneficial to the region in many ways.

      Of course it is all about “tomorrow” and for how BMW M is perceived you have to look at BMWi.
      BMW M will be the first to share the construction techniques utilising full CFRP.

      If you look at BMW M today they are all ready advanced in CFRP what with the M3 and the previous and Forthcoming M6 Coupe . The 2003 BMW M3 CSL started the ball rolling with the ltd edition coming with a CFRP roof which was expensive to begin with but BMW took the hit. When you look at the M3 today , you get a picture of why the M3 is leagues ahead of it’s competitors.
      If Audi or Mercedes had to include a CFRP roof with their RS5 or C63 respectively it would be priced out of competition with the M3. BMW have the years of practise with CFRP and can equip the M3 for an fixed cost.
      BMW are also leagues ahead with their CFRP production than both VAG and Daimler. And will be the first manufacturer to volume produce CFRP body panels for the i cars.

      Given the focus is currently on the i cars. Eventually you will see the CFRP technology used in the same way as well as the M sub-brand used in the same way as BMWi with potential stand alone concepts not based on an existing BMW.

      You might digress over product expansion or brand dillution. But the future has to be funded… then you will see how far ahead BMW M really are.

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