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Thread: Statement on Frame Isuue from BMW AG, February 25,2006

  1. #1
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    Statement on Frame Isuue from BMW AG, February 25,2006

    Dear BMW Z8 Club e.V. Members,
    Dear BMW Z8 owners,

    Today I received a new message via Mail from BMW AG on the frame issue.

    Please note again, this is not a translation made by the BMW Z8 Club e.V. but comes directly from the BMW Group.

    I really think there will be a solution for the problem.
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  2. #2
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Thank you J?rgen

    To you and the club

  3. #3

    Thank you J?rgen & Olaf!!

    Really, what great work you guys have done on this. I feel really lucky that we, the owners, are able to so quickly enjoy the benefits of the fruits of the Club's co-operation with BMW AG. Who could have possible guessed that before the Club's first birthday such an extraordinary series of events could come to pass.

    I'd also like thank all those at BMW AG for supporting the needs and desires of the Z8 owners. My pride in being a life-long BMW driver and rider is restored, and I'm delighted to know I can fully trust BMW as a customer. I look forward thanking those of you in person who are making the trip to Como in April.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

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    Great to hear BMW is being responsive/responsible

    But there is still much to be accomplished before we can put this whole thing to rest. BMW needs to follow through with an actual fix in some reasonable time frame. They are still not admitting there is a problem with the integrity of the strut towers, which leaves those with "out of tolerance" damage in what kind of situation? Hopefully they will do something for those owners also. I think the pressure of the owner's clubs, the threat (but not the acutal filing, which would have stalled everything for ages) of a lawsuit, and the continual embarassment/publicity that they would have faced as the owner's struggled to find fixes with their cars from 3rd parties all contributed to getting BMW to at least address the issue. Congrats and thank you to all!!

    BMW is trying to walk a fine line here between offering a "retrofit" to prevent "cosmetic changes" and not opening themeselves up to more serious liability issues related to cars "driven beyond their intended use". We might as well let them walk it and see where it takes us. However, I am not in rapture with them for doing something they should have done in the first letter they released. The pressure needs to stay on BMW to live up to thier responsibility.

  5. #5
    Z8Mania
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    I think if you are out of tolerance they would say you had some kind of accident damage and if its an accident it is a matter for your insurance company. JMHO.

  6. #6
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rjay
    But there is still much to be accomplished before we can put this whole thing to rest. BMW needs to follow through with an actual fix in some reasonable time frame. They are still not admitting there is a problem with the integrity of the strut towers, which leaves those with "out of tolerance" damage in what kind of situation? Hopefully they will do something for those owners also. I think the pressure of the owner's clubs, the threat (but not the acutal filing, which would have stalled everything for ages) of a lawsuit, and the continual embarassment/publicity that they would have faced as the owner's struggled to find fixes with their cars from 3rd parties all contributed to getting BMW to at least address the issue. Congrats and thank you to all!!

    BMW is trying to walk a fine line here between offering a "retrofit" to prevent "cosmetic changes" and not opening themeselves up to more serious liability issues related to cars "driven beyond their intended use". We might as well let them walk it and see where it takes us. However, I am not in rapture with them for doing something they should have done in the first letter they released. The pressure needs to stay on BMW to live up to thier responsibility.

    Very well stated.

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    Talking

    I agree with Rjay, and BMW should give a guideline of what to do with our Z8's to prevent out of line problems until the retrofit.,and how could they not know there was a problem, BMW just now seeks a retrofit?

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    Yes, being in "tolerance" is going to be important

    Although I have not had my alignment checked since this hit the fan, it certainly was only 1500mi ago when the dealer installed the Dinan S3 suspension mod, and no mention was made of any problems. If my car is distorted, its a small amount on one side, so I don't think I have much risk of being out of tolerance. But for those cars (if any) out of tolerance, it appears that BMW is positioning to leave them "out in the cold" in terms of getting back into tolerance, as Z8 Mania noted. It will be critical to find out our alignment specs in this process and how far towards the limits of tolerance or beyond we are. A poll on how many cars are in or out of tolerance (with no accidents or major curb hits, etc) may be indicated.

  9. #9
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Great news, and the opportunity to start a cooperative discussion with BMW about the details.

    The first and most important step will be done:
    Engineer and provide a fix that protects undamaged cars. How they call it, quite frankly, I don't care. Whether or not I will have to pay for it, I don't car either. However, it would be a nice gesture and a clever move for BMW to install this as a sign of good will, and to immediately reunite the Z8 owners at the side of BMW.

    Now for the cars "out of tolerance":
    There are two types of them:
    1. slightly out of tolerance (to be defined)
    2. serious frame damages

    The first type would comprise those cars with a damage that can be repaired, either by simply installing the fix and "bending" the towers into shape, or by any other repair method suggested by BMW. We will need to get advice from BMW about this, and every car will have to be looked at separately.

    The second type (do we have any of these right now?) will be the heavy cases with distorted frames. Here the frame needs to be exchanged. AFAIK, in ALL cases in the past this has been paid for by insurances. Is there any case where the owner did not repair his car because his insurance refused to pay?
    I agree with Jeff's opinion above, these will continue to be insurance cases forever.

    Every owner with a damaged car has been contacted by the club in the meantime, and asked to have his car thoroughly inspected by BMW. Don't use eyesight, rolling dices, Joey's Garage or similar for this, be precise. Then you will know exactly what category your car falls into, and the next steps should become clear.

    I would certainly feel somewhat better if my car wouldn't be damaged, however, I feel relaxed and convinced that there will be a good way out of this situation for all of us.

    BTW, for those of you who modified their suspension or other important details: Don't forget that by doing this mod you waived the right to yell at BMW...
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

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    Passed inspection

    In an earlier post I noted that my car has a noticeable change in the hood gap from windshield to headlight...It also shows no noticeable shock tower distortion...My dealer arranged to have the car inspected by two techs from BMW NA...Friday, I got a call from Ken Green at BMW NA informing me that the engineers found no problem.

    What I take away from this is that seam gaps are not necessarily a result of shock tower damage...and, at least in my case, a variance of between and eight and quarter inch may be within mfg spec.

    The bottom line for me is that the process the club is sponsoring of getting suspect cars inspected by BMW is the right thing to do. I also must comment that in my case the service and response from BMW has been prompt and professional.

    I will now take the car to an independent for inspection, all in the spirt of Ronald Regan's "trust but verify".

    I no longer count myself as one of the unfortunates...however I remain committed to the process started by the BMW Z8 club. So a fact based assessment remains in order and if the number of failed/distorted shocktowers remains as the data suggests then we need to press for corrective action. Which includes repair for some and a retrofit/fix for others.

  11. #11
    Z8Mania
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    Looking at the gaps is not a good test at all- remember the cars are hand assembled. There are some cars where the gaps are just uneven and this can be adjusted in the field.

    What anyone concerned should do, as BMW has suggested, is go get an alignment done. This is what I did. I could see a small deformation on my passenger side tower- but my hood gaps are even- though both sides taper in toward the head lights. What did the alignment find: number one, I had not had my car aligned ever since I bought it over 5 years ago. I should have. The alignment had slipped out. Second, after the alignment, the car is well within specs for the car and the car drives like a brand new car. Its amazing. I believe that if your car is capable of being aligned well within the specs and if the side to side comparison of the end results is very close then you will be AOK in the end. The problem is a car like some of the pics we've seen- where the doming looks like its really crazy.

    IMHO it would take an extremely severe impact to cause such doming- JMHO.

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    Exclamation Word of caution

    I think that we need to understand the cost of the fix before we start volunteering to pay for it our selves. I for one, think that BMW AG should absorb that cost knowing and living what we all went through. Don?t misunderstand me; I am very happy to hear about the POTENTIAL solution to correct what they consider "VISUAL IMPAIRMENT" which in my opinion is a legal craftsmanship to avoid admitting that they are liable.

    I hope that it will not take long to hear the final verdict on the ?POSSIBLE RETROFIT?
    And I hope that this time they will be able to deliver a flawless execution that got me to buy their FLAGSHIP.
    KG

  13. #13
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    I hope there is a 50 year supply of frames for those needing replacement.

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    You will not be disaponted

    I found this link which covers the welding process of the Z8. Unforunetly you may not understand the language of the presenter "I did".
    Making of BMW Z8 in Dingolfing and Munich

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    Oops

    The link did not show up.
    you can see it at www.nadim.com
    Episode 126
    Z8 Aluminum Space Frame factory
    duration 35 minutes
    KG

  16. #16
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Don't let your guard down just yet

    While the latest communication is very good news, we're not out of the woods yet. They've only stated that they're "investigating the possibility of a retro fit". This is no guarantee. However, a limited statement such as this is on par for an issue like we're facing. Unlike some who seem to expect BMW to turn on a dime with an open admission of guilt without any consideration to liability and cost, I understand their cautious progression through carefully selected communications under close advisement of their legal staff. In today's litigious world, companies have to proceed cautiously as even good intentions can backfire.

    I certainly give enormous amount of praise and credit to the Club for working with BMW AG to bring us this latest news, but I do believe that the actions of this board and others in expressing concern for our situation has had some power in spurring BMW to take action to protect our brand loyalty.

    So, everyone, keep BMW on notice that we?re pleased with their latest statement, but we are no less concerned. This is a competitive market, and there are many other places that we can spend our dollars, euros, etc.

    On a personal note, I have an M5 on order, and I?m very interested in the upcoming Z9/Z10/whatever. While there may not be conclusive evidence that BMW is at fault with the frame issue, a generous effort on the part of BMW will cement my loyalty on the purchase of these and many BMW models to come.

    BMW, I hope you?re listening.
    thegunguy

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    Things that matter


    So far I'm not convinced that the issue with the frame is a done deal. I am heartened by the letter, but like all things written by lawyers there is plenty of wiggle room. I am undecided about the meet in the middle as I will only attend with my Z8 IF it has had the "retrofit". I feel that is only prudent. I do not plan to attend without the Z. I am hopefull that BMW does go on the do the right thing by the owners which includes the changes at their cost. Personally I have about 11/2 years of warranty left. Finally, and not just as a contrarian, I think BMW has not been forthright with the owners. They missed many opportunities to deal with us more appropriately. I await my "letter in the mail' from them telling me to bring my car in for both an inspection and retrofit, and a direct letter updating on the issue directly would have sealed the deal rather than a mass letter to be disseminated by threads. There is a majority of owners(original owners) who have no knowledge of this entire issue and are risking their cars daily because of lack of information. My mind remains unchanged. The Z8 is and will forever be my last BMW product.

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    I for one agree with you ...where is my letter, not the club letter on this web site. I need to some formal reply before I ever buy or trust BMW.. My high point with BMW was during the Z8 driving experience, and since then it just sucks. Also why would anyone admit that they would pay for a retrofix after spending 140,000 must be somewhat not sound. I have never heard of frame damage or out of spec except BMW...and I have owned Porsche, 'Vettes, Ferrari, Maserati, Jag etc; and no problem.

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    Talking

    One more thing, 1st the BMW dealership that service our Z8 do not know about the frame issue..... My dealership found out from me. They are meeting with a BMW rep soon - reply to come.

  20. #20
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree with thegunguy but....

    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy
    While the latest communication is very good news, we're not out of the woods yet. They've only stated that they're "investigating the possibility of a retro fit". This is no guarantee.

    So, everyone, keep BMW on notice that we?re pleased with their latest statement, but we are no less concerned. This is a competitive market, and there are many other places that we can spend our dollars, euros, etc.

    BMW, I hope you?re listening.
    I think this is indeed the biggest step forward yet. Certainly as others have noticed, there still is alot of wiggle room. BMW still needs to understand that we do have choices with where to spend our money and how / when they resolve this issue is paramount to all of us staying loyal the mark.

    I agree that at present no need to "stir the pot" with talk of a Class Action but I disagree that the entire class action thread was deleted. For one, it showed a record to BMW of how upset it's consumers were becoming and since this is NOT over yet, I think that move was a bit premature. I too have removed my interest in Class Action for now and I anxiously await the retrofix/ retrofit for my "retro" car.

    I will say, it seems like a pretty slick way for BMW to get a fix for us. They are admitting nothing, developing a fix for some "non-critical" distortions at the request of " concerned Z8 owners that have approached us" and more than likely, we will have to pay for this ourselves as an "upgrade" (I am assuming any R&D costs of the fix will be passed on to us as consumers when we get the upgrade)
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  21. #21
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Do you know something the rest of us don't?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    BTW, for those of you who modified their suspension or other important details: Don't forget that by doing this mod you waived the right to yell at BMW...
    Obviously, You and others have modified their cars suspensions in order to achieve a higher level of performance. It is easy for BMW to disgard any owner who may have modified the suspension but these modifications are "upgrades" too. Certainly the car was designed for "normal use" but I think that word "normal" has a very broad definition. Also, most "supercars" are seriously "overengineered" to avoid problems and considering BMW's statement that the Z8 frame was the most rigid frame ever designed by BMW, I think it is ridiculous that any suspension upgrade would give them enough cause to disregard you as a customer.

    For example, Dinan is an "approved" BMW tuner here in the US. Using Dinan products (installed at most BMW Service Centers no less) does NOT void your warranty, the new parts are warranteed by Dinan, the old, by BMW. Reason is that Dinan's products are supposedly done to BMW specifications so, IMHO, are indirectly approved by BMW.

    Isn't the AC Schnitzer brand in Germany considered an "approved" BMW tuner in Europe? I was under the impression they are and therefore to my way of thinking, their modifications fall under the same protection?
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  22. #22

    A quick FYI on the 'deleted' status

    I agree that at present no need to "stir the pot" with talk of a Class Action but I disagree that the entire class action thread was deleted. For one, it showed a record to BMW of how upset it's consumers were becoming and since this is NOT over yet, I think that move was a bit premature. I too have removed my interest in Class Action for now and I anxiously await the retrofix/ retrofit for my "retro" car.
    That thread is 'soft-deleted', which means it is still there, and i can bring it back with one click, so it isn't gone, just hidden. I did this as a goodwill gesture to show BMW that we are ready to, and want to work with them to solve this problem.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  23. #23
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Wink Good to know. Thanks and ...

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly
    That thread is 'soft-deleted', which means it is still there, and i can bring it back with one click, so it isn't gone, just hidden. I did this as a goodwill gesture to show BMW that we are ready to, and want to work with them to solve this problem.
    I will be awaiting more information.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

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    another article Feb 06 European Car... picture 2001 bmw m3, Strong strut front tower braces.... DID these cars have problems or was this needed for track use. Sure is a strong brace between the strut towers., is this the reto fix.

  25. #25
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Strut tower braces

    Quote Originally Posted by melny
    another article Feb 06 European Car... picture 2001 bmw m3, Strong strut front tower braces.... DID these cars have problems or was this needed for track use. Sure is a strong brace between the strut towers., is this the reto fix.
    STBs have been in use for decades in many makes (OE, aftermarket, and racing) as a method of strengthening the big hole that?s needed for the engine. If there was more room between the plenum and the hood, there would probably ten or better manufacturers of STBs for the Z8 prior to any knowledge of the frame issue. It?s a common upgrade for anyone looking to reduce the flex of the car and improve handling performance.

    STB does not = bad frame.

    I have seen several references to similar damage on the E46, but I'm guessing the car you saw was modified for track use.
    thegunguy

  26. #26
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Jeff

    as long as the parts are not sold and installed officially by BMW, they will always have room to say that it is an unwarranted modification.
    As you say, Dinan warrants its part, BMW theirs. The problem zone is as usual in these cases that the Dinan parts remain undamaged, however, they (and other mods) may have contributed to a damage on BMW parts.
    And then you have combinations: ACS kit plus Dinan bars, KW coilovers plus Dinan bars, etc etc...

    All in all I understand your concerns, there is nothing more than a letter right now, and still room for quite a bit of speculation, which is used of course to explore the options.

    Again, BMW is a world-class and size company, so they don't issue such a follow-up statement without a reason. So to me it is absolutely clear that their will be a fix.
    You are all right about the clever route that they are taking - after all, this route has been "suggested" by the Club through its behavior and wording.
    In another post, I stated that a company must have reached a certain point in working with an issue before they come up with a statement like this. So my guess is that they are at the point where they have at least done some CAD calculations, and probably built some kind of prototype for testing. Otherwise no manager would give the go for such a statement.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  27. #27
    Z8Mania
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    I think the flaw in the thinking of some is an assumption that there is a problem with the frame. I do not think the data to date proves the conclusion. What there is, however, is some concern. The way to handle concern is to approach the person / party you have a concern with and ask them about it. As we have discussed before, if you approach with attorneys in tow you can expect to get a response from an attorney. I think BMW is doing the right thing here.

  28. #28
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Dieter, yes I agree, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    as long as the parts are not sold and installed officially by BMW, they will always have room to say that it is an unwarranted modification.
    As you say, Dinan warrants its part, BMW theirs. The problem zone is as usual in these cases that the Dinan parts remain undamaged, however, they (and other mods) may have contributed to a damage on BMW parts.
    And then you have combinations: ACS kit plus Dinan bars, KW coilovers plus Dinan bars, etc etc...
    the Dinan and ACS kit are manufactured by the "approved tuner". When I discussed what the term "BMW Approved Tuner" meant with the sales reps at Dinan, they stated that ALL of their modifications are built to meet or exceed BMW's OE specifications and because of that, they as a company are an "approved Tuner". The rep further explained that because they worked closely with BMW for their modifications, that is how the modifications do not void any aspect of the BMW OE warranty, i.e, if you install Dinan springs, have a problem like a bad spring under the warranty period, that is Dinans problem.

    IF you have a problem with your OE strut after installation of your Dinan Springs, your strut is still covered by your OE BMW warranty as Dinan parts and workmanship is "approved of" by BMW. In other words, the Dinan suspension parts do not void the rest of the OE warranty on the rest of the suspension. ACS is an "approved tuner" as well. They have the same arrangement with BMW as Dinan as far as I understand it (I was told the same thing when I was checking on some ACS parts in the past).

    Given the above, IF you installed and ACS kit, developed some strut tower deformations, the strut tower is still covered under your OE warranty as the modification you did was from/with a BMW approved tuner. KW coilovers I think are not BMW approved tuner modifications. This "approved" status is the route to go in order to keep your warranty in place. IF you are now out of warranty, but only now have realized a problem like the strut tower issue, all I am saying is you may have a valid argument to get it covered, since you installed mods that were from a BMW approved tuner. Your BMW service center may or may not try to dismiss the claim, but so far my experience with my other BMW, they usually will cover the problem, especially when they know you are a repeat and loyal customer.

    US manufactures are not that way. Take a Chevy 4WD truck for example. If you modify the suspension and lift it, put aftermarket tires on it, and change the gearing, the aftermarket company will warranty the parts you bought (just like Dinan) BUT Chevrolet WILL NOT warranty ANY of the remaining suspension, or the transmission or axles or the brakes because of your modifications, it voids the whole warranty!(however, BMW WILL).


    I agree with Jerry, BMW has the reputation of being a world class company, which is one reason why I was getting upset with them when it appeared they were going to do nothing. For now, it appears this latest letter indicating a retorfix gives further evidence that they are that way but the proof will be ulitmately "in the pudding", so to speak. I too am glad to see the direction they are headed with the retrofix and TRULY would like to get on to discussing the lighter side of things on this website!!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  29. #29
    Z8Mania
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    speaking of the lighter side

    I agree- time for some light conversation.

    My favorite pudding is chocolate. What's yours?

    Btw- my favorite number is 8- one of the things I found fortuitous about the name of our favorite car.

  30. #30

    All time favorite pudding is inspired from down under....

    but made in England in the summer. The Aussies call it a Pavlova, but to me it is a sticky meringue raspberry pie.

    A layer of freshly picked raspberries sit in a 2" thick sticky meringue base, shaped like a tart and about 14" round. On top of that is a liberal layer of very whipped fresh Cornish cream. Best eaten in the garden on a sunny summer's day.....heaven!!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  31. #31
    Z8Mania
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    Sounds fantastic!

  32. #32
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Talking Chocolate -- Hmmm, I thought I said "lighter"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania
    I agree- time for some light conversation.

    My favorite pudding is chocolate. What's yours?

    Btw- my favorite number is 8- one of the things I found fortuitous about the name of our favorite car.

    Chocolate I love too but I am more of an Ice Cream man instead of pudding -- light indeed !
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102