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Thread: First statement from BMW AG about the frame damage

  1. #1
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    First statement from BMW AG about the frame damage

    Dear BMW Z8 owners,

    you can find the first statement from BMW AG to the frame damages of our cars attached. The original letter is in German, here is the translation:


    To the BMW Z8 Club e.V., Mr. Olaf Hetze (President)


    Information concerning the deformation of the shock towers


    Dear Mr. Hetze,

    Concerning the information about the deformation in the area of the shock towers on the BMW Z8 I am sending you our statement:

    BMW AG has received reports from the BMW Z8 Club according to which deformation has occured in the area of the shock towers. We are currently investigating the technical facts. This technical investigation will take time. We are presently not aware of any occurrences that would indicate any safety relevant impairment to the handling of the car.

    You are welcome to publish this statement to inform your club members.

    Yours sincerly
    Bavarian Motor Works Corporation


    Andreas Klugescheid
    BMW Group Corporate Communications
    Head of Heritage Communications
     
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  2. #2

    Well it is a start....

    What I'd like next is some sort of timetable of solutions.

    With such a significant number of cars damaged I think that the case is clear for needing a fix to 'stabilize' the areas of concern on the undamaged cars as soon as possible, and they have already had over 70 days to work on this.

    I can understand their dilemma, as once you announce a fix you are also accepting that the problem exists, and then you have to figure out what to do with all the damaged cars.

    While I do genuinely feel sorry for BMW AG in this terribly embarrassing situation I also do urge them to take action to protect and preserve the undamaged cars, as the problem is potentially getting worse everyday.

    I really can't underline how important it is not to play a long term stalling game.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  3. #3
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    How about sharing facts

    What surprises me with BMW AG's response is that they are coming across as if they have not dealt with this issue before. where they say "BMW AG has received reports from the BMW Z8 Club according to which deformation has occured in the area of the shock towers. We are currently investigating the technical facts.We are presently not aware of any occurrences that would indicate any safety relevant impairment to the handling of the car."
    I remember reading a thread that talks about BMW AG already replaced frames in Germany. So which one is it?? Getting a response is one thing and I hope that we do not have to question the integrity of the communication as we move forward!!!
    KG

  4. #4
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    So i was looking for something wise...

    And what we got was an acknowledgement that an number of Z8 owners have expressed concern over the shock towers and that they will take some time fact gathering...in the meantime there is no safety concern....well to my way of thinking that means:

    1) They acknowledge that several owners have put themselves on record that they are very concerned about the integrity of their vehicles.

    2) That they see no safety issue, or potential safety issue with the concerns communicated to them

    3) They have not instructed us to stop/change or modify any reasonable use of the cars.

    From my perspective that means BMW does not see the situation as urgent or alarming and as such have assumed liability for whatever happens as a result of a shock tower related frame failure for the foreseeable future.

  5. #5
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    I look at the statement in a different way. I can understand the comments made above, however, there is a lot of speculation in it.

    1. Replacement of frames
    There were replacements of frames for sure, but apparently they were all related to the handling of accidents, so most likely nobody thought about problems occuring during normal driving. One member of this board had his frame replaced because he hit a pole a year ago. We talked about it, there was never a moment where either one of us thought about a design flaw.

    2. 70 days
    This is certainly not the case. The first discussions about this arose during the Z8 meeting in Switzerland, when one Z8 hit a pothole and showed a bulged tower. This was still discussed as an unnormal damage for such a hit, and it took some time for the insurance to examine the car etc. Meanwhile, I looked at my car, because my front axle couldn't be aligned properly. It took some discussions to finally reach a point where some people thought it might be good to ask BMW's opinion about these damages, and what could be the reasons for this.

    All in all, it is not as easy as simply looking at a handful of cars and at eyesight determine that there is a design flaw. Most of the pictures I have seen here show no damage at all, even if there is a difference between the bolts. Measure exactly with proper tools to prove that I am wrong, please.

    Besides that, what would you expect as a first statement from a serious company in this situation? They have been contacted by the club, they now know that from the polls there is probably a number of 6 cars on this board (in words: SIX) with a bulge, and probably 3 or 4 more in Europe. There will be more, I know, but this is where things stand right now.

    Would you admit a design flaw and stop everybody from using the cars if 10 or 15 cars out of 5,700 show some damage where even the cause for the damage is unclear?

    Again, let's stay clear of emotions here, we need a solid and lasting solution for two problems:
    - protection for undamaged cars
    - reasonable repair method for damaged cars

    And I'd rather wait for a solid fix rather than a fast one just because some folks are waving the big lawyer stick.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  6. #6

    Yes and no.....

    We have 6 cars out of 19 here so far, add the 5 cars out of 15 that had the damage in Switzerland, and the 5 out of 10 that J?rgen and I saw at BMW dealerships here in the LA area during the holidays, and I'll think you'll find that the current total is somewhere around 1/3 of the cars we've seen in our 'small circle'.

    BMW learnt about this after the Switzerland trip, and when the cause and effect of the damage was clear.

    This isn't an isolated odd event, but a pandemic that will eventually affect every car unless there is something done. I won't drive my car now I know what the consequence of a simple bad pothole hit could be. There is no pleasure in driving feeling the frame could be destroyed by what's around every corner. Driving it now would make about as much sense as trying to go running in Cinderella's glass slipper.

    I'm with you about the desire not to go to court, BMW are tied up in the courts here with some really serious defects on the Z3 at the moment, so I'm sure they don't want to go down the same path again with the Z8.

    I think I speak for us all when I say nor do we. We represent BMW's top customers, we've bought their most expensive car, many of us more than once, so if they treat us with respect and dignity, we will treat them that way. Let's just get this taken care of, and quickly, so we can get back to enjoying our cars.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  7. #7

    What is reasonable.

    Human nature, what it is, will allow for some patience. That will likely be used up in short order if there is inadequate ongoing communication between BMW and this strongly committed group regarding the future. It's hard to believe that BMW hasn't learned how to appropriately handle defect issues with the public so as to maintain hard-earned loyalty, while minimizing dollars/euros spent to enrichen a certain professional group.

    They have a wonderful opportunity to do the right thing, thereby ensuring a more solid following. From nearly all bad things, can good things spring forward. Does BMW AG understand that? My guess is that we'll find out soon.

  8. #8

    Is no damage good?

    In some ways, it may be worse to have no damage. To worry that something will happen with any drive to spoil our steeds could drive one "mad". Any of us can probably imagine leaving undamaged cars in solitude, so as to protect them. I'm seeing even patient Andrew frustrated with this awful situation. It will be important that BMW understand the benefit of accelerating the glacially slow corporate process.

  9. #9
    Z8 Novice gordini's Avatar
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    I am 100% with you Andrew

    The Z8 is my second BMW car, I have a 535 and I intended to buy an M5 for my youngest kid that is coming out of college next year in NY, so BMW now has the decision to keep me or release me forever as a loyal customer.

    In the mean time I will not move THE CAR till they give us a plan of action and a timeline. Patience is very weak when your mind starts pondering worries like this, so I think that we as a group, and the Europeans must stick together and give a time to BMW to at least give us some real peace of mind in the next letter that they produce; a letter of compromise for all of us that are taking care of their brand in the car we love, and should be for driving for pleasure, not for suffering, as all of us are now.

    jose

  10. #10
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    What is BMWNA doing?

    Does anyone know what BMWNA is doing? Since I live in America I would really like to know what they are doing over here.

  11. #11
    Z8 Madness
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    I agree with Andrew as well

    First, thanks Juergen for posting any updates so quickly.

    I am not surprised as to the tone of the letter from BMW AG. The letter is clearly a very cautious attempt to acknowledge (not yet agree with) the concerns raised by the club.

    While most of us, especially those with not- or slightly-damaged cars are wishful that the damage is isolated rather than by design -- thus can not happen to me -- the facts of the matter suggest otherwise.

    My car is quarantined until BMW comes out with a fix. The sooner the better!

    <O</O
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  12. #12
    Z8 Madness
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisfast
    Does anyone know what BMWNA is doing? Since I live in America I would really like to know what they are doing over here.
    It was suggested in another post that BMWNA will follow the lead of BMW AG in this regard.
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  13. #13
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    EDIT: Changed, enough emotions here already.

    I don't think we are far apart with our opinions, my only intent is to keep expectations and emotions at a reasonable level here.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  14. #14

    In answer to a question I was asked off the board....

    "How could BMW not have known about this earlier?"

    It is easy to understand how this has gone undetected for so long. BMW were blinded by what I'd call "The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome" when it came to their new Aluminum Chassis Forming Technology. (Let us not forget Chris 'Bad Socks' Bangle's influence on BMW!)

    This chassis flaw may have even happened during the preproduction tests, but BMW would have thought it was a freak event because they had so much invested in their belief that their Aluminum formed chassis was the future.

    This belief in the integrity of their new chassis was so great that they couldn't consider it might be flawed, and the Titanic was unsinkable. On top of that the cost to re-engineer the entire chassis forming production line, which was already fully created and ready to roll, at great expense for a fluke incident, is something that no one would have had the courage to call for. "What a fabulous new robe the Z8mporer is wearing!"

    Every time this weakness has shown up since the Z8 has been in the hands of the car buying public, it has been at an Aluminum Repair Center, who were checking the car for accident damage, thus the issue has always been masked by the incident that caused the car to be inspected in the first place.

    Well, now the Emperor is naked, the Titanic is history, and we own some pretty, spaghetti framed cars!
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  15. #15
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Talking Nice comparison Andrew- makes me laugh...

    Well, now the Emperor is naked, the Titanic is history, and we own some pretty, spaghetti framed cars!


    but I think the letter from BMW AG is a place to start and it reveals to me the door is open to communication -- which is infinitely better than no response at all !!

    I see it as follows:

    1) No imminent safety concerns are stated by BMW AG, which IS a good thing for those of us who wish to drive our vehicles, even a little.

    2) They are investigating it. This IS the first step toward a final solution so I say give them time to investigate the problem and come up with a reasonable fix. Even IF it is not BMW's problem and is related to trauma deformation, then we still need a fix for the cars that are damaged and possibly a preventative fix if possible, something we still need BMWs input in determining, which I do not think we will get if we stop communicating.

    Let's all be patient as the corporate process can take time. I would not be willing to wait too long and I think a 6 month period of time for investigation and the developement of a repair is sufficient, but only after the EXTENT of problem is determined. Given the notification of the Z8 Club and the extent of vehicles mentioned here, and when they were first notified, they "should" have a good idea of the extent of the problem and I would expect an official "yes or no" from BMW AG sometime in March or April of this year (2006). But, since they have not officially asked any of us to bring our Z8's in for an inspection to determine if their is a problem, I suspect that we are all in for a long wait and therefore, we all will grow more and more impatient and be looking for a different remedie to the situation!

    In the meantime, I am in the process of getting some other minor warranty repairs made to my Z8 since it is mostly sitting due to winter anyway.

  16. #16

    I have some pretty heated emails here....

    and there is a circle of owners who are already ready to force the issue in the courts.

    I am trying to mediate the situation because from my position the vast majority of you currently want to work with BMW to find a solution peacfully and out of the courts.

    My question is what would you all like to see happen, when is the wait too long, what is and is not acceptable?

    I think that the very best thing that can happen now is that BMW give us some kind of roadmap, or timeline, so we know when we can expect updates and communication from them. I feel confident that this will keep everyone out of court, and on the right path. The greatest danger of alienating this owner group lies in the shadows of silence.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  17. #17
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Here is what I think a reasonable time table is....

    6 month investigation time (November 2005 through April 2006) during which time ALL known Z8 owners are notified in writing of a "possible" problem and have us take our vehicles to our authorized service centers for inspection (as they should be informed on what to look for).

    Next, a 3 month time frame to analyze the data and determine the cause and design a fix.

    Next, notify everyone of the how and where to repair or apply the preventative fix, which could take up to 6 months to complete depending on what is involved.

    In the meantime, offer all of us a 2 day complimentary Advanced M school to "fill the void" left by us not being able to drive our Z8s! A small price to pay for maintaining customer satisfaction.

  18. #18
    Z8 Madness
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    This seems like a reasonable time-table. But ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    In the meantime, offer all of us a 2 day complimentary Advanced M school to "fill the void" left by us not being able to drive our Z8s! A small price to pay for maintaining customer satisfaction.
    Or a 10% discount on an M6
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  19. #19
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    Stay out of the courts if at all possible

    Use the courts as a threat of last resort in case that bmw does not fairly address the issue and a solution. If it gets into the lawyer's hands, it will take alot longer to get resolved and cost everyone involved alot more. Letting the gladiators go to battle means bmw and the owners have failed.

  20. #20
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rjay
    Use the courts as a threat of last resort in case that bmw does not fairly address the issue and a solution. If it gets into the lawyer's hands, it will take alot longer to get resolved and cost everyone involved alot more. Letting the gladiators go to battle means bmw and the owners have failed.
    Very well said indeed.

    Same for Z8Docs time table, although I don't want to wait till fall to get back to normal driving.

    For those who want to go to court now, please consider:
    - What is the actual damage that you have?
    (precise damage, extent)
    - Can you prove the cause for this damage?
    - If so, did BMW guarantee you that a car passing a pothole of a certain size at a certain speed would remain undamaged?

    These and a lot more of these questions would probably come from lawyers if you start down this way.
    There is a lot more cooperation possible between BMW, the club, and the owners without lawyers in between.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  21. #21
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    Raving fans

    I agree fully with Andrew, A calander roadmap is the least that we should expect to evaluate our options. Waiting for a year to get my car attended to is not what i would consider a fair treatment to keep me as a RAVING FAN to the brand. In other words, I would like to have a huge comfort zone that I can drive my car with full confidence no later than June of 2006.
    I can appreciate that an issue in this magnitude requires time, yet on the other hand I believe that BMW has suffecient resources to throw at this issue to come up with a game plan that needs to be communicated to us ASAP. I hope that we can all reach a solution with out resorting to legal council, which I think should be a viable option just in case!.
    KG

  22. #22
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree and the time table I laid out ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Khalil Ghalayini
    ......to keep me as a RAVING FAN to the brand. In other words, I would like to have a huge comfort zone that I can drive my car with full confidence no later than June of 2006.
    KG
    is essentially the one you are speaking of. IF BMWs investigation/assessment/evaluation is done by April 2006, then 3 months analyzing the data and designing a fix would put a solution ready to be implemented in July 2006. Then the 6 months I mentioned from that point forward was an estimate of how long it would take to fix EVERYONEs car. The time frame of the fix I suspect would be alot shorter unless there is a complete chassis swap is necessary ( which IMHO doubt will happen but of course is on the list of possiblility ) but I am trying to be optimistic that the problem is not as extensive as we fear and the fix will not be as involved as first thought.

    Certainly BMW has the resources to throw at the project and I am blindly confident / optimistic that they will investigate this matter and come up with a fix if it in fact is a design flaw or a flaw in materials or workmanship (most likely is considering the similar issues on other models). If they do not, certainly, the legal remedies are open to us ... but since their statement states they feel there is not obvious safety issue (which I presume is accurate after their past 2 months investigation and presume the statement had the blessing of their legal council), I am willing to give some time to see what the full response is. In the meantime, I am using this winter to take care of some needed minor repairs, etc.

  23. #23

    Other models as well -

    The January Roundel "Tech Talk" section (page 117) has an owner of a 2002 325Ci (E46) describing damage that sounds identical to the Z8 issue. In the response the issue is discussed in great detail quoting two "unidentified" BMW master techs who state that the damage has been seen in the past in the E46 and E36 3-series.

    According to them BMW typically would consider the damaged to be caused by abuse and that it most likely wold not be covered by warranty. They also state that some of the older models such as E21 and E30 3-series will never have this type of a damage, even after hundreds of thousands of miles.

    It will be veryinteresting to see if BMW actually will do anything to the cars, especially if this is not a problem just affecting the Z8, but also the 3-series and especially since they have stated that there is no safety concerns regarding this.

    We'll see...
    Skip Hammerman

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  24. #24
    DSC Off REG Z8 01's Avatar
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    Single Point Of Contact

    Going to court to me is a last resort. I love my Z8 and want to drive it without having a cloud over my head with this issue. I think it is important to have a single voice in dealing with BMW...not just a group of individuals with varying degrees of frustration and suggested solutions and timetables.

    Perhaps we could organize here and agree on next steps. If Andrew is willing to be the single point of contact for us here in the US...we might be able, with strength in numbers, to get BMW to do the right things.

    I, for one, would be willing to have the group agree on a plan of action and have Andrew be the "unofficial" point person for contact with BMW on this issue.

    REG Z8 01

  25. #25

    Thanks for the vote Reg....

    I will do everything I can here to help the owner group to use the forum as a platform.

    I do believe that by supporting the Z8 Club we will also be doing the best thing we can to push a solution forward out of the courts.

    Our US bank account for the Z8 Club is with Citi Bank, and the Club will be accepting membership dues via check, credit card and PayPal later this week. I would really, really urge all those of you who have not yet joined to do so, because BMW takes their accredited Type Clubs very seriously, and if they see a large group of their best customers in enthusiasts club they will respect this.

    There are only 8 members in the USA so far, but there are over 200 in the EU. If we could get a hundered members here it will give the Club a really powerful voice within BMW. Please download the membership application forms here..

    I know some of you here have been involvd in setting up car clubs in the past, so if there are any interested owners who'd like to help get the Z8 Club more established, and work closely with forming the US wing of the Club please let me know, as I can't do it all on my own!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  26. #26
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    is it the correct link

    Great idea Andrew,
    Seems that the link that you enclosed, takes us to the coordinates of the European Z8 membership with the Euro cost and coordinates. Where can we download the US version that includes the Citi Bank account number and cost to tansfer the funds via wire, and is their an issue if I am residing in Canada.
    Tnx
    KG

  27. #27

    Hopefully it will all be online here this week!

    Just need to onfirm the last few details and we'll be good to go!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  28. #28
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    Upset with BMW

    my dealership has replied and asked to check out my Z8 after i sent the web set info..... where is BMW,and their reply that this is not a safty issue is just lawyer BS.

  29. #29
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    suggestion

    get him to respond to you in writing with that response!

  30. #30

    The club's US details are here....

    but I also hope to have the whole process up as an online page asap.

    Sorry for the delay, it has been a manic week.
    Andrew Macpherson

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