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Thread: What to do now?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb What to do now?

    We the owners have still not heard anything about the inherent damage that this design flaw could cause our cars by simple driving from BMW. I feel that this is not acceptable.

    I am prepared to give BMW.AG a little more time to give us a time-line for the engineering of fixes and repairs before we involve any lawyers.

    However I think that a suitable protest all owners can make about this situation, and our cars, is to contact the NHTSA. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). This is a Government body our taxes pay for, and their job it is to protect us.

    Here is a direct link to their vehicle complaint form.

    Also while you are at the NHTSA site look up some of the other investigations they have going. This is from the 3 Series log: IN ADDITION TO EXPERIENCING A LOWER RATE OF NON-CRASH DEPLOYMENTS, MOST OF THE NON-RECALLED VEHICLES ALSO SHOWED EVIDENCE OF SIGNIFICANT POTHOLE/CURB IMPACT WITH SOME HAVING ADDITIONAL UNDERCARRIAGE CONTACT/SCRAPE OR SUSPENSION DAMAGE.

    Seems that this is a problem BMW is all too familiar with, which really makes me wonder why they released the Z8 without the structural integrity to maintain it's shape?
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  2. #2
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    Its all about managing expectations

    BMW's earlier communication that this will take time is somehow too vague. I think that they should define the time frame that we are talking about from their point of view, so we do not have to start guessing and get diaspointed. I agree with Andrew in filling the form.
    KG

  3. #3
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    There are always goverment solutions and ...

    I agree with Andrew. These goverment organizations are there to protect our interests. Exerting some pressure from governing agencies can only help, IMHO and most likely will lead to a more quicker solution for all of us than litigation would.

    The NHTSA is a good start and after Andrew and I discussed this earlier, my complaint is already on file. If you read the complaints about other manufacturers, you will see that the NHTSA takes safety concerns seriously and I truely believe this will lead to a quicker solution. The more of us they hear from, the more serious they will take it and the more pressure they will exert on BMW NA and therefore BMW AG. So, file your complaint today!

    Another organization in the USA that will help is The Public Citizen. Some of you may have heard of it's founder, Ralph Nader. Whatever your political opinion of Ralph Nader is, he IS responsible for why the NHTSA is even in business to protect us -- remember the Corvair and the article "Unsafe at any speed?"? Where it not for Ralph Nader and the Public Citizen, General Motors would have killed many more people with that design.

    Contact information is :
    The Public Citizen
    main office
    1600 20th St, NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    202/588-1000

    website: www.citizen.org/autosafety
    go to Contact Us and click on email beside autosafety to send an email complaint.

    Other organizations that can help are your state Department of Motor Vehicles, in particular, whatever branch controls consumer fraud with regard to motor vehicle sales. Every state has such an agency, you just have to research it. Why fraud? Well, IF BMW new about this problem before they sold it, then it would be a fraud issue. IF they new about it in November and any car sold new or certified preowned after that, well, it is fraud again if they do not disclose the problem. I have filed a complaint with my Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission too.

    I do not have any direct info for all states but I have this name and address for those of you in California:

    Carol Bedwell
    CA DMV
    Acting Chief Deputy Director
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    Sacremento, CA

    If she can not help, I would be confident on her office being able to direct you correctly.

    Another source for us, is the Federal Trade Commission, which obviously governs all business in the USA.
    It's link is https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

    Point here is, file as many complaints in as many goverment organizations and as many consumer advocacy groups as possible. If we do our diligence, BMW will HAVE to do theirs.

  4. #4
    Registered User Rich's Avatar
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    Frame Damage

    It might be beneficial if we put together a "fact sheet" that outlines the problem as accurately as possible and provides as much factual information as possible. Factual information would include such things as the number of cars that, based upon an inspection, appear to have damage both in Germany and the US. Having such a document would insure that correct information is being provided to people and organizations outside of this group. Regardless of how we pursue a resolution of this problem, it's important that we maintain a high degree of credibility. The easiest way to loose credibility is by disseminating incorrect information. If many of us are going to contact goverment agencies it would be best if we described the problem and provided supporting information similarly. We might also turn this document into a press release and send it to a number of automotive trade publications.

    Andrew, if you think this is worth doing I'd be willing to work on it with you.

    Rich

  5. #5
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    We might also turn this document into a press release and send it to a number of automotive trade publications. Rich
    Hang on Guys!

    Are we better not keeping this to ourselves for a while? Unless we want to see the headline ?BMW Z8 Values Crash? in automotive trade publications.

    Just a thought!

    Colin.

  6. #6

    Rich, great idea!

    I would love help with preparing a fact sheet on the issue. My understanding from Germany is they have the figures for around 70 cars so far, with around 1 in 3 showing signs of the damage, slightly worse that our poll here which shows 1 in 4 of 37 cars.

    Colin, I had thought about the value scenario, hell, I even thought about dumping my Z8 and running for the hills, but I also felt a real sense of responsibility to all the Z8 owners here, and the vast majority who aren't online at all. We need to take some action, because BMW won't. We know this by the LSD issue, a couple of their most favored customers we well taken care of, including getting the install their LSD units, while the rest of us got jack.

    Quite frankly I don't believe BMW will do anything at all to help us without some encouragement, but I also don't favor going to court. I don't believe court will be good for BMW or for us, so this seems like a healthy way to keep things moving along. They still have not given us any sort of timeline for engineering a fix or how they will be taking care of repairs.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  7. #7
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    We need to get the emotion out of this issue.

    I know that isn't easy with the Z8 - especially for those of us who have gone the extra mile which culminated in ownership (or 2 as the case may be). The car is an enigma - evoking such a strong emotional connection with people that they can't prevent themselves from waving excitedly, gawking, smiling overwhelmingly or giving a hearty "thumbs up!" when they see a Z8. This is the response we all witness from nearly every person seeing the car for the first time. My passion for this car hasn't diminished in the least despite the current shock tower situation.

    At the end of the day, this is an engineering issue that deserves an engineering resolution. It takes time to go through the engineering process of determining the exact cause, developing the correct remedy and implementing the "fix". We must give BMW (and their engineering process) the time it deserves to come up with a permanent resolution. I don't believe we've given it enough time yet.

    Although it may seem the desireable thing to do right now, contacting the gov't agencies cited in previous posts can have as many (probably more) negatives than it can positives. These can be in the form of: extended litigation (during which NOTHING gets done); knee jerk "band aid" fixes to appease the gov't agency, but not really fix the problem; rapid and possibly permanent value degradation.

    If the cause is not definitive, BMW could be assessed a punitive monteary fine due to some obscure infraction of a gov't regulation, but not be held liable to come up with a fix - leaving us all with depressed value and no OEM repair solution. Any monetary recoupment directed back to the owners will probably amount to a fraction of what it'll take to repair our vehicles.

    Remember, these gov't agencies ARE NOT the panacea many believe they are. Once the gov't agencies are energized, they're more interested in proving corporate failure and pursuing their own interests than they are finding and ensuring a true fix for our vehicles. We, the owners, become secondary to the gov't position and desires.

    I know this sounds radical and contrary to a lot of views, but I believe there are many more pitfalls awaiting us if we pursue this through the USG and State agencies at this time. Please take a step back and look at this from a less emotional perspective.

    That said....I'm now going for a drive in my beautiful Z8 (OK, in my case , Alpina Roadster V8 for those purists)

  8. #8
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree but....

    At the end of the day, this is an engineering issue that deserves an engineering resolution. It takes time to go through the engineering process of determining the exact cause, developing the correct remedy and implementing the "fix". We must give BMW (and their engineering process) the time it deserves to come up with a permanent resolution. I don't believe we've given it enough time yet.

    this is potentially a multimillion dollar issue to BMW and IMHO, I do not think that BMW will be very forthcoming with a fix, especially when they see only a few of us discussion this issue but taking no "real" action. Less than 3% of owners are probably even aware of the issue worldwide.

    Considering the US is BMW's largest single market and the fact that BMW NA has been unresponsive to the inquiry, I think some gov't pressure is need to jump start this process and get things moving from this side of the Atlantic. I do not think that the NHTSA is the save all but they certainly can help. That is why I recommend doing this via the gov't complaint and via a private consumer Advocacy group like the Public Citizen, which can help keep pressure on the gov't / NHTSA. With both working on our side, I think this is the shortest route to getting the problem fixed and certainly would be shorter than a class action lawsuit, which I do not advocate as that would only result in some sort of monetary damage award, a negotiated settlement without a probable fix for the problem.

    Your comment assumes the gov't may result in the same thing but that also assumes the gov't will file suit against BMW regarding the issue, which I doubt would happen, unless our cars are truely unsafe?? Are you sure the car is safe to drive? Nothing in any of BMWs response to the club actually states the car is safe "...we are presently unaware of any safety relavent issues..." is what they state. Emphasis on the word "unaware" is the key to understanding BMWs true meaning and is meant to diffuse, confuse, divide and conquer. If we all stand united, they wil HAVE to address this issue.

    That is a carefully crafted legal statement IMHO but really says nothing about whether or not the car is or is not safe. In my case, I am not willing to take that for granted and I think we should exert pressure where we can, including state or federal agencies that are there to handle such things, especially when nothing is forthcoming. BMW AG has NOT responded to any of us... and if we sit here without acting, we will still be sitting here a year from now debating this same issue.

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    I Squared

    I agree thgat we should create pressure so BMW takes note and moves faster. I will contact the NHTSA.

    Does anyone know if Z8 owners with the DINAN upgrades, including suspension changes, have experienced any damage also?

    Also, if an owner with this "pothole damage" put in an insurance claim, would it fly; or at least create feedback to BMW?

  10. #10
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I have the Dinan Stage 3 upgrade but...

    I have only had it since October and had some issues with the ride quality. I have gotten them straightened out and the ride quality is much better than before (defective springs) but fortunately, I have no perceptible damage. However, I have only driven about 800 miles in the car with that suspension upgrade since October (took a 500 mile trip right after installation in October but have a total of about 35K total miles).

    I do not think there appears to be any pattern to show that suspension modifications have made this worse but honestly, we have such preliminary data, it is just too soon to tell, which is why this investigation has to speed up.

  11. #11
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I Squared
    Also, if an owner with this "pothole damage" put in an insurance claim, would it fly; or at least create feedback to BMW?
    I've wondered that too. I know the party responsible for the road is many areas pays for bent rims, I wonder how they would react to the bill for a bent frame?

    I personally wish BMW would give us a timeline. That would be the best pro-active action they can take.

  12. #12

    Thumbs up California owners....

    This great bit of research for California owners just came to us from a very diligent member who wishes to remain anonymous. From all of us thank you sir!

    I came across this website, which sounds like just what you need, the New Motor Vehicle Board.

    You will notice in the description it was founded in 1967 and it's function was limited to hearing appeals form final decisions of the Director of the Department with were adverse to the licensing of a dealer, manufacturer, distributor or representative.

    It's powers were expanded in California in 1973 giving the Board it's present name and giving it broad statutory framework and forum for regulating and settling of disputes in the new vehicle industry. It goes on to mention a Consumer Mediation Service Program, which allows informal mediation to resolve disputes between customers and the dealer and / or the manufacturer or distributor. Go to this page.

    If your dealer gets a letter from this agency, they will immediately send it on to BMW NA for processing and it will start a dialogue.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  13. #13
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Frame issues

    Andrew

    I have to agree. It is highly unlikely BMW will respond to this issue without some incentive. It sounds as though there may be a number of ways to apply some appropriate pressure. They undoubtedly all have pros and cons. It is key to present a unified voice no matter which route we go. I am behind you. How long should we wait ? Which route do you recommend ? Or would you approach from all possible angles (New Motor Vehicle Board and so on)? Perhaps a time-table for everyone would be appropriate ?

    The downside to publicity may be, as Colin mentioned, that values will fall. However, without incentive this will become a nonissue for BMW and no fix will ever occur and values will fall then too.

    On a personal note, I am not so concerned what the car is worth - just that is safe, runs well and I can drive it without worrying that some small road defect will result in damage.

    Dave

  14. #14

    Our time line.....

    I say this week we should all contact our state consumer boards, the NHTSA, state DMV's etc. Let's get the folks we pay taxes to keep employed working for us for a change.

    I have never been to court for anything, but I honestly believe that for BMW it is a game they can control. They can put off hearings, ask for extensions, and generally dick around doing nothing in the halls of the law, but they'll have a harder time messing with the state and federal organizations that are here to protect us.

    They really have no reason to make any move unless we force them to. We are driving a small run car that is out of production, and almost out of warranty. They have already exposed themselves badly with the way the dealt with the LSD issue, so we have to be a lot stronger, smarter and more determind than we were then not to get royally screwed this time.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  15. #15
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    I know you don't want to hear this, but consider this:

    Take BMW's hat for a moment please.

    Allegedly, a problem with one of your cars has been discovered, and some people start making noise about it, especially in the US.

    There could be two choices now:
    1. As a company, you are facing fights with a class suit and/or government agencies
    2. You try to work it out with the affected owners, and you try to find a protective solution for the future

    Consider case 1:
    If ever BMW would be forced to admit that there was an issue, this would be the perfect ground for
    - 5,700 owners to ask for a thorough examination of their car
    - 5,700 owners to ask for the replacement of their frames
    (why should only the affected ones be exchanged, I want a
    fresh and stronger one)
    - insurance companies would start asking questions about past cases
    - for sure several people would claim further damages
    - an everlasting loss in reputation: Ha, here is the company who
    tried to build a legend, but they didn't tell that the need for
    restauration was built in by the factory...

    Put aside the fact whether there is a flaw or not for a moment. Does case 1 consider any attractive options to you as a company?
    What would YOU do with your own company?
    Very simple. You would start blocking everything right from the beginning, take the position that you did your due diligence during development, and that users have been abusing their cars.
    You would try everything to get out of product liability given this scope, wouldn't you? And then it is up to the owners to proove that the damage didn't happen due to abusive driving or such. Good luck.

    How realistic does it appear to any of you that BMW will officially state that there is a design flaw? By what standards do you measure that it is a design flaw?
    This would open them up to all kinds of trouble, that's not going to happen IMHO.

    The dialog between the Club and BMW is ongoing, however without a result yet. Rattling the cage doesn't help at all at this stage, although I can seriously understand the emotions behind this. It will only force BMW to take the described route IMO.

    Now consider #2:
    How come that something like the Z3 floor problems went through with much less noise? Which way was chosen by both owners and BMW to get out of this situation?
    We should carefully examine what has happened there, apparently BMW somehow found a "golden" way to help customers without admitting anything.

    I myself don't need the Z8 story on every front news page of the world, at the end of the day it will harm us as the owners.

    Let's try to go the #2 route as long as we have the indication that things are still moving. Not every move may be visible in public though.

    Right now it looks like if we start escalating it, BMW will block completely. Or they may issue a statement that there was no problem, and they will have a class suit immediately. Millions of dollars lost to lawyers that could be used to repair/protect cars.

    #2 looks attractive to me, however, a timeline is needed.

    NOTE: I am using examples here, don't misunderstand this as anything that BMW WILL do. Sorry for the long post.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  16. #16
    Z8Mania
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    Well Said Dieter. Thank you.

    Andrew, can you elaborate on the few Z8 owners who got special treatment as I am aware of none that got treatment beyond the letter and gift certificate.

    I think the first thing we, as Z8 owners have got to make a decision on here is simply this: what do we want? If its just to know our cars are right and they will continue to be so, then what has transpired so far has not been very constructive to that result in my opinion.

    As to a course of action, I think if you want to alert BMW to something that is bothering you, send them correspondence- and if your car has the damage, or if you are concerned that your car might have the damage, then my suggestion beyond sending a letter is bring it to your dealer along with the information from the Z8 Club and the letter from BMW AG and have your dealer create a file and let that data work its way through BMW's system. Put yourself in their position for a moment, they have to see real data, not just a handful of cars, nor a few web posts.

    By going to the courts, government agencies and press first you force them to use their lawyers and other professionals to deal with you and you will create a self fulfilling prophecy.

  17. #17
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    Yes, Andrew I would like to know too.

    Who are these mystery owners?

  18. #18

    Good points all.....

    Take BMW's hat for a moment please.
    I have, and I honestly feel for them, I know that this was not something they ever intended to happen.

    What would YOU do with your own company?
    Honestly I don't know because I work on a compleltly different scale, but in my world when errors happen we immediatly address them, and correct the situation.

    #2 looks attractive to me, however, a timeline is needed.
    You are absolutely correct, a timeline is needed, and with that I will have no issue, and see no reason for anyone to take them to court. However BMW are in court right now here in the USA with the Z3's problems, so that is not a story of roses.

    can you elaborate on the few Z8 owners who got special treatment?
    No, because I can not reveal my sources.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  19. #19

    This is most important question here....

    what do we want?
    Jerry, you hit the nail on the head.

    Speaking for myself as a consumer and an enthusiast I want what I thought I'd bought, nothing more, nothing less. I don't want a car I'm affraid to drive because of a possible frame distortion.

    Speaking as someone who can't help caring about owners, I think BMW should let every owner know that this possible weakness exisits, that they are investigating it, and working on engineering a suitable fix.

    I am caught in the middle here between a few people who do want to go to court, which I really don't, several other owners who just want to take action to put their displeasure on notice officially, and yet more who believe that if we just wait BMW will bring us everything we need in the fullness of time.

    I quite simply don't have the knowledge or the experience to know which path is the right path, I have never been in this situation before, and never want to be again!
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  20. #20
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    Z8 Frame Damage

    Thanks Mac for the info to file a complaint.

    As an update, my car is at the dealers right now. I thought it wise to initiate the papertrail and get BMW NA in the know about my car. I don't have any perceived damage, but between taking it into the dealer and filing a complaint with BMW NA, I hope it will get their attention.

    I'll keep everyone posted on what their response to me is...
    raj

  21. #21
    Z8Mania
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    Raj,
    I believe this is the right thing to do and I am doing the same thing.

    Andrew,
    What I want is to know my car is safe and driving right and will continue to be so.

    In times like this, I find the most beneficial thing to do is make sure I do not box myself in. The fear of being swept under the rug is just that- fear. Don't let fear dictate your actions. I doubt most people owning Z8s act this way in their business relationships.

    By beginning a government, legal or even public relations action, you take your fate out of your hands and place it in the hands of others. I think in taking these kinds of actions, you might feel you are doing the right thing, but in effect you become boxed in to consequences which you could never even imagine or intend.

    I think we would all like to know exactly what is going on as quickly as possible. However, my observation is that many here equate that to a period of days or weeks. My own opinion is this is unrealistic. A problem for all of us is the speed at which we are accustomed to getting information- with the internet we all expect things to happen at the speed of light. This is just my own opinion and guess, but I think it has got to me more like months to even over a year, because a company like BMW has got to get the proper data to analyze and then do the work needed.

    I do not see how anyone would harm their standing by writing to BMW to say as a Z8 owner they are concerned about this and they are having their dealer inspect their vehicle or even just waiting to see what BMW comes up with. BMW has said they are looking into this and they don't currently think its a safety issue. You can see it right here: http://www.bmwz8.us/vbb/showthread.php?t=414 .

    I don't know if, at this stage, BMW really should directly contact owners because it knows the Club will tell the members who have a concern and if they should alert every Z8 owner it might cause more confusion and trouble than they are prepared for right now.

    Of course, this is just my 2 cents and everyone is free to do as they think is right.

  22. #22

    Jerry, very sound and sage words...

    my entire life is managing deadlines, from 5.30am to 11pm everyday I?m sat at this machine, sending images around the world for tomorrow's deadline. I get the time to do board between uploads, retouching and generally managing a business that really does work at the speed of light. You are quite right that I expect things to happen now, because in my world that is the pace we keep, and if we don't we're out!

    However I?m not the least patient amongst us, I have several owners who want action now. I can't say I blame them, and emotions are running high. I really do believe, and I emailed this to our contacts in Munich over 10 days ago, that with a realistic timeline, and the certainty we are going to be taken care of, everyone will fall in line with, and support BMW.

    At the core of this situation are a lot of people who really love their car, and also basically are really proud to be BMW owners and enthusiasts.

    I do hope that none of the actions taken will create the box you speak of. My fear is the the worst box is in the halls of the law, and I have been trying to cool the tempers who are calling for that. I think these other paths are much simpler. Each complaint will be passed to BMW as just that, a complaint. These government bodies will simply require an action that satisfies both parties, they won?t take BMW to court, ban them from doing business, or anything else drastic like that, they will simply deal with the complaint on their desk one at a time. It is my understanding that all this will do is put BMW on notice that this must be dealt with.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  23. #23
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    So let me try, would we be happy to

    - get some kind of fix to protect undamaged cars from now on and
    - some reasonable help to repair damaged cars?
    (I assume that only very few cars would need a frame replacement)

    Aside from the technical solution, I am tempted to add from my side:
    - I want the value and reputation of the Z8 to stay undamaged
    (There were other cars that needed a strut brace or something
    and still are considered great cars)
    - I want a relaxed and open communication between the Z8 owners, represented by their Club, and BMW.
    After all, we all want to test BMW for delivering spare parts in the
    50th year...

    Is there anything else that people would want or would not want?
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  24. #24
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    More gasoline...

    I tend to agree with Dieter and Jerry. Any ?official? actions at this point only lead to partial results at best.

    What documented data exists that clearly concludes that there is in fact a design flaw? Furthermore, if there is a flaw, can it be confirmed that it impairs the safety of the vehicle? As we all know, safety is the silver bullet in automotive liability concerns. The club in Germany has been collecting data, but has anyone seen their results? I never received a confirmation after I sent them my inspection report. Andrew?s poll here in the forum is a fair barometer, but its design is statistically flawed. Don?t get me wrong. I?m not critiquing Andrew?s effort to aid in the collection of data, but rather the tool is too limited and it?s certainly not random. To illustrate, it can be argued that our online community is more likely to perform modifications and drive more enthusiastically (tracking, etc.) that the general Z8 population. As such, these elements could cause or exacerbate the apparent flaw. Thus, collecting data solely from our community could skew the results.

    My point is that we really need to know what we?re dealing with before we begin to devise any strategy or take action. So, what does that mean? We have to collect statistically sound data our selves.

    First, all of us need to have our cars inspected by a dealer as many of you have already done. A casual visual inspection is not going to hold water. Can you imagine being on the witness stand in court and telling the judge, ?well, it didn?t look right to me?? BMW attorney: ?Are you an automotive engineer?? ? crack of the gavel ? see ya! All joking aside, by having the dealer inspect the car it puts the data on record with the dealer and BMW, in addition to building our personal data set of cars. This has several impacts: 1. Gives them access to yet another car to gather data in order to engineer a fix, 2. lets BMW know ? hey, I?m concerned, I?ll play your game for a while, but I expect results, 3. as more people have their car inspected BMW will see that there?s a growing group of people that fall into #2.

    Next, in order to increase the power of our group and gather more statistically significant data, I have suggested to some that we need to reach out to the remaining Z8 owners who do not participate in online forums such as this. I?m getting close to obtaining a list of all the US Z8 owners based on their state registration. The goal would be to use this to list inform owners about the potential damage issues, have them take their car to a dealer for detailed inspection, or pass along the information to the current owner in the event of a sale. Again, this increases our knowledge and it shows BMW that is a growing number of concerned high-income individuals that are concerned about their car and the quality of BMW in general.

    I?m playing a bit of ?devil?s advocate? here, especially in my first real paragraph. I do believe that there is an issue even without seeing conclusive data. There just seems to bee too many similar defects that have been observed and document among the group. However, without conclusive data almost any strategy, including litigation is severely weakened.

    When it?s all said and done, we need to prepared to deal with the fact that we may end up having to solve this issue on our own. As I implied above, we?re the vocal MINORITY. Most Z8 owners have no idea that a potential issue exists, and some may not care due to their driving habits. It?s easy to forget that BMW is in business to make a profit for their owners. They just choose manufacturing cars (motorcycles, aircraft engines, etc.) as a ?vehicle? to do so. So, when faced with all of their options from a financial and legal standpoint their best strategy, the one that yields or protects the greatest profit, could be inaction. Furthermore, who?s to say that they didn?t detect the issue during development, but decided that it was an acceptable financial risk to release the car as-is due to the probably primary consumer group of collectors and non-enthusiast drivers? Shuch trade-offs happen every day in every company across the globe ? perfect products don?t exist. My point here is don?t hang your hat on the hope that BMW will come up with a fix, and the cost of litigation could outweigh the cost of developing a preventative fix on our own. For now, I?ll wait for BMW, but like many of you, I wish we could get a timeline.

    With all of the activity of this thread, it might be wise to setup a conference bridge where we can discuss the issue and work towards formulating a unified course of action. I can facilitate if there is enough interest.
    thegunguy

  25. #25
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Z8 Frame

    Sounds like a majority want to avoid legal involvement - hallelujah !! I am strongly opposed to legal involvement. It really would create a confrontational relationship and would be counterproductive.

    Perhaps the first step is to get every owner possible to :

    1) write BMW and ask for clarification as to what is going on and ask for some sort of timeline. I recently did this

    2) take their car to the dealer for frame assessment. As Gunguy said, no-one would listen to "it just doesn't look right", myself included.

    As for the issue of us being a vocal minority - any way to get a list of all current owners ??

    Dave

  26. #26

    Rifle, how does this work?

    it might be wise to setup a conference bridge where we can discuss the issue and work towards formulating a unified course of action. I can facilitate if there is enough interest.
    I'm not familiar with the workings of a conference bridge?
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  27. #27
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Conference bridge

    A conference bridge is a tool that allows groups to have a shared/simultaneous phone call. Many companies with multiple locations use such bridges to hold multi-location meetings. If you've ever participated in an earnings or analyst call for a public stock, you've been on a conference bridge (usually just one-way though). There are similar web-based services such as WebEx.

    Anyway, since many of us seem to be so active/vocal on the frame issue, it might be a good idea to have an open discussion on what we know, thoughts, strategies, etc. This way we can devise a unified stance to protect the group and our cars. Power in numbers, etc. Either that or we can all meet in Santa Fe this weekend
    thegunguy

  28. #28

    I think it sounds like a great idea....

    and as time clicks on I think Santa Fe (but in June) may well provide the perfect round table from which many of us can really figure out position. Sadly I think it will very likely take till then for BMW to reveal their position.

    Let me know the how, where and when of the bridge, and I'll be there.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  29. #29
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    BMW regional service guy meeting in the SLO dealership

    I stopped by my dealer today to see if they had any update for me on the Z8 issue. As luck would have it the regional service guy was visiting the dealership and was in the service area when I walked in. I just came in from my orchard covered in dust as was my truck. When we engaged in conversation it was obvious A. he knew nothing about this issue or B. he was taking the coporate line and stonewalling or C. he wanted to walk out of the way of a babbling madman who looked like he should only be driving a truck. His first comment was that he knew nothing about the issue and had not heard of any ongoing investigation on BMW's part on such an issue. I suggested that there was an avid group here in the states that were very concerned about this issue and we were not the routine BMW buyer but an unusually enlightened and dedicated group. I told him we had planned a meet in Santa Fe and that was up in the air because of the problem and BMW was aware of our group meeting, perhaps even participating as per Bill's comments to me. I offered to show him the 2 websites discussing these issues, his comment was you can find anything you want on the internet so that held no validity. Fortunately the service director added some words of wisdom so it didn't quite come to blows but I strongly suggested he get upto speed on the problem and that I will be back next month to discuss it more fully. I have the only Z8 being serviced in SLO and the guys, although not very confident, try very hard, to please. They want to help but have no idea how to even check my car. I agree this is not a fight we can handle individually so what ever method you all decide to deal with as a group please count me in. Finally I think the situation for the NHTSA to get involved is a safety issue (perhaps the reason behind the phrasing of BMW's response). I would hold government involvement as the final BFH ( big f---ing hammer) when all else fails because the possibility of unintended consequences is probably very real. But that's just me!

  30. #30
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    When it?s all said and done, we need to prepared to deal with the fact that we may end up having to solve this issue on our own. As I implied above, we?re the vocal MINORITY. Most Z8 owners have no idea that a potential issue exists, and some may not care due to their driving habits. It?s easy to forget that BMW is in business to make a profit for their owners. They just choose manufacturing cars (motorcycles, aircraft engines, etc.) as a ?vehicle? to do so. So, when faced with all of their options from a financial and legal standpoint their best strategy, the one that yields or protects the greatest profit, could be inaction. Furthermore, who?s to say that they didn?t detect the issue during development, but decided that it was an acceptable financial risk to release the car as-is due to the probably primary consumer group of collectors and non-enthusiast drivers? Shuch trade-offs happen every day in every company across the globe ? perfect products don?t exist. My point here is don?t hang your hat on the hope that BMW will come up with a fix, and the cost of litigation could outweigh the cost of developing a preventative fix on our own. For now, I?ll wait for BMW, but like many of you, I wish we could get a timeline.

    This really hits home for me. I expect nothing from BMW and personally believe we will be correctiong our own cars. Hopefully an aftermarket supplier may see a great opportunity here to produce and sell such a correction .

  31. #31
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    To summarize....

    Here is what we DO know...

    A) The Z8 club in Germany has identified 1 in 3 cars in their membership show signs of damage that COULD represent a POSSIBLE design flaw or manufacturing defect. The US Owners on this site seem to be similar.

    B) The Club has reported it to BMW in NoV. 2005 and BMW started investigating the issue.

    C) BMW issues a statement (Jan.2006) to the Z8 Club that they are aware of a potential issue and confirms they are investigating it and states they are UNAWARE of any safety issues at this time.

    D) Our Dealerships/ BMW Service Centers are UNAWARE of any problems with the frame, shock towers, and deny any knowledge of potential safety problems.

    E) BMW has NOT issued ANY official statement to any Z8 owner directly. Only one letter to the president of the Z8 club in Germany but stated they could post the letter for public view. Therefore, MOST Z8 owners are UNAWARE they have a possible problem.

    F) Based on C, D, and E..... the key word for all of this is UNAWARE and therefore we really do not know anything... which is the biggest problem of all as it is all speculation without hard data.

    Given that being UNAWARE of a problem is somewhat of a defense, I think having your car checked out is the first step to making BMW AWARE of the possible problem and is in point of fact, a complaint. You are complaining to your service advisor that you have heard of a possible problem and you want it checked out and remedied if possible. Has anyone WITH damage had their car checked? What did the service advisor say? Did they blame it on abuse? Probably so but what they are willing to do you can sometimes depend on how much your service advisor goes to bat for you in my experience.

    I agree that we need to keep this in perspective but I for one am in favor of the official complaint trail. I DO have experience with complaining to government agencies and consumer protection agencies and consumer fraud agencies and when multimillion dollar companies are essentially silent on an issue, there usually is a reason and it is organizations like the NHTSA that can help us and force BMW to collect the hard data we and they need to determine if there is or is not a problem. You know, it could turn out that this is a limited problem.

    I agree with Andrew that this will jump start the process from this side of the Atlantic and since the USA is BMWs' single largest market for their cars, they will respond and IMHO, favorably to their consumers, otherwise, it would be detrimental to their future sales and far worse for their bottom line in future sales if they do not. IF we do not take a united stand and stand up for our rights as consumers, we will get nowhere unless someone official is inquiring about this issue. This is NOT an unusual avenue for consumers to pursue. Go check out the NHTSA website and look for automotive complaints filed against manufacturers. You will see alot. You will also see in almost every instance, a resolution because of the official complaint and a resolution that was more than satisfactory.

    This is what we want. We want our cars back in our driving hands with the knowledge that our car is OK, going to be OK and/or can be fixed to be OK. That is NOT too much to ask for and if complaining to a government authority can assist in getting it done for all of us collectively, so be it. Even if the complaint serves to force BMW to respond negatively.... at least that is an actual response and we know where we stand. But, I think we already have our response as a wise man once said, "NO response is a response." , and therefore deserves some action from us.

  32. #32
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Form letter

    Perhaps we need a good form letter posted here that we can all send to BMW NA (or appropriate entity for your country) and our local dealer. This is a similar approach that political activist groups use to mobilize the masses in order to communicate a unified opinion to gov't officials. From reading this and the other threads, I believe that some of you have already sent letters to BMW and your dealer. Would anyone like to share what they have written?

    We could use a few of these sample letters as models to create a single letter that would represents our unified voice. After all the edits and agreement on the final version, Andrew can post the letter as a sticky and email to his largest Z8 distribution list. Then we all modify and print with our personal info.
    thegunguy

  33. #33
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    Z8 evaluation at BMW Dallas

    Well, I got my car back yesterday and of course, the dealer stated that there was no damage on my car. They also mentioned that they are not aware of a Prevetative Maintenance fix and so I have to wait to hear from BMW NA. I have also noted my issue with BMW NA so they are aware of my concern and request for a response.

    The dealer did ask to keep my paperwork open untill next week. Their regional rep is supposed to be visiting and the shop foreman wants to discuss the PM issue with
    the rep.

    From there, I guess I'll get completed paperwork and move on to dealing with BMW NA and their reccomendations for a PM solution, if that ever happens.

    At least I will have documentation and a record from a BMW dealer stating there is no damage on my car. This may be helpful for what, I am not sure of, but we'll see...

    raj

  34. #34
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    That is the smart thing to do and everyone....

    should take there cars in and get it checked. Then take it in again and again and again, especially if you are still in warranty. IF a fix (even a preventative one) ever materializes, then BMW will have to cover it as the complaint was first and continually filed during the warranty period. This is how warranties work, according to law in most states. Even if a recall or defect is discovered after warranty expires, if the consumer had repeatedly complained to the service center after the warranty was out (such is some of you second owners or older first owners), it still has to be covered, as far as I understand it. So, as stated before, get the Z8 repeatedly evaluated for frame damage. That way it is documented there is possible problem and that way BMW on the hook for a fix (even a preventative one), should it ever be developed.

  35. #35

    This was sent to me by an owner....

    who wishes to keep this information anonymous, and asked me to post it here. It is the response he got from the FTC complaint form.

    Thank you for visiting the FTC's web page and for using our NEW electronic Talk To Us form. Here's what happened to your information after you sent it to us:
    One of our consumer counselors reviewed the information you sent us. If it was related to the FTC's law enforcement responsibilities, we entered it into our shared law enforcement data system. We share this data system with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada. Attached is your electronic response, which includes your reference number. Any enclosures can be found at www.FTC.GOV under the News Releases, Publications, Speeches option.
    Information from consumers like you helps Federal, State and Local authorities investigate possible illegal practices and enforce our laws. Someone from the Federal Trade Commission or another law enforcement agency may contact you if they need additional information to help them in an investigation.
    Thank you for using our Talk To Us form, and please continue to use the FTC's web page, www.ftc.gov, to get free information to help you avoid costly consumer problems.

    This was then followed up with this info.....

    Dear Sir,

    We are pleased to respond to your correspondence describing your difficulty obtaining warranty performance.

    The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is intended to help consumers with warranty disputes enforce their rights. The Act permits consumers to sue a company that fails to live up to its promises under a warranty. Among other provisions, the Act allows consumers who prevail in suits for breach of warranty under the Act to recover attorney's fees and court costs, as well as damages and other relief awarded by the court. Enclosed is a brochure that explains your rights and responsibilities under the Act.

    The Commission's role is to identify those companies that consistently violate consumers' warranty rights and pursue corrective action through administrative proceedings rather than by resolving individual complaints. In addition, we hope the following information is helpful.

    You may be interested to know that there are no federal or state laws that require companies to provide assistance for problems that occur after the warranty ends. A company's obligation to repair or replace a defective product is limited to the terms of its written warranty. On the other hand, a company must take care of problems that are first complained about during the warranty period, even if the warranty runs out before the problems are resolved. Until the problems are resolved, the warrantor has not performed as promised. It is a good idea to keep a copy of any letter or receipt that shows when problems were first brought to the attention of the company or servicing dealer.

    If the company is unable to repair the product, you may have a right under state law to receive a refund, even if the warranty indicates that no refunds will be given. Under Section 2-719 of the Uniform Commercial Code, effective in nearly all states, if a warranty limits the remedy available under it, and that remedy given does not work, the consumer has the right to seek other appropriate remedies.

    For example, if the warranty provides that the company will only repair a product, and not provide a refund or replacement, the company is entitled to a reasonable opportunity to repair the product in question. However, if the product is seriously defective and a number of repair attempts do not place it in proper condition, then the owner may have a right to a refund or replacement. You should ask a lawyer how this rule works in your state.

    In addition, even if your product is no longer covered by the manufacturer's warranty, it may still be protected by an implied warranty created by state law. All states have such warranties, and they supplement the protection of any written warranty. The most important of these warranties is the implied warranty of merchantability, which promises that a product will be fit for the ordinary purpose for which it is sold. For example, in the case of an automobile, the warranty of merchantability guarantees that the vehicle is fit for transportation. If the automobile is not fit for transportation, the purchaser may be able to revoke acceptance due to a breach of the implied warranty. In most states, implied warranties run for four years from the date of sale. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement for the repair of the product, a private attorney may be able to provide advice on how to enforce implied warranty rights.

    Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Letters such as yours help us maintain an awareness of those problems consumers are experiencing.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  36. #36
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    Maybe we should take a different route...

    Has anyone thought of our sending letters to the many auto magazines out there. Several magazines published here in the LA area, if they want a first hand view of the problem I can take my car to them. If just one or two of those magazines print our complaints we might both reach other Z8 owners who are unaware of the problem and also make our point in the same publications that BMW spends so much on to promote their product. If we make a statment in a way that effects their future sales we have a better chance of a quick resolution.

  37. #37
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    I've got to tap the brakes on this one.

    Ron I don't want to jump on your toes, but I am STRONGLY opposed to airing our issue in the media at this point. It is impossible to control how things are presented in the press, and you cannot guarantee that any article will have the desired result. What you can guarantee is that more people will know about the issue, and values could ultimately be affected.

    As far as notifying other owners, we need to focus on direct contact methods. Like I stated earlier, we're working on a database of state registrations for Z8s in the US so that we can send them a letter informing them of the issue and the need to have the car inspected at the dealer.

    At this point, BMW has done nothing worth vindictively lashing out to damage their sales. I thought the goal was to get our cars back on the road. They deserve the time to investigate the issue and build their response. As stated by the club in Germany, they're gathering data through 2/15 and will have a response by 3/30. You can't expect them to turn on a dime! Folks, we?ve got to be patient here.

    If they ultimately tell us to "pound sand", then, yes, we'll go to the press, but this solves nothing now.
    thegunguy

  38. #38
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    I agree, they should be given time to respond...

    Nothing moves quickly through a company the size of BMW. In a previous post I stated that I didn't think a response would be communicated to us for another sixty days. I think it's fair to give the powers that be an agreed upon amount time before we make any further moves. We should however consider a response if our concerns go unanswered.

  39. #39
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    Walk softly and carry a big stick

    Agreed. We need to put BMW on notice that they have our support and trust while they make a reasonable effort to satisfy our concern but if the data points to their error and they choose to do nothing, we will take every measure at our disposal.
    thegunguy

  40. #40
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    We should all respond to the survey asked by the Z8 club, there's a form that you can download on the website with instructions on what to look for.
    Giorgio

  41. #41
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    Dutch Z8 owners are on your side!

    I learnt about the Z8 problem through this Forum. Great! Luckily my car seems to be o.k., but the question is ofcourse for how long? I have contacted both my BMW dealer and BMW Holland (100% subsidiary of BMW AG) and have asked for an explanation. None of them were aware of the problem; but they are now. I have been promised an answer asap and was sent the first reaction of BMW AG (as published on this site).
    Hopefully putting some pressure on the Dutch organisation will help to strengthen our case.
    In the mean time I have started to contact other Z8 owners in Holland, although there aren't many z8's around here.
    I will keep you posted of any future developments. Thanks.

  42. #42
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree we will probably have to wait and wait...

    and wait for an official response from BMW but IMHO, all of the measurements and results do not mean anything as a structural engineer is the only one who could tell us what to measure? Before anyones starts measuring random distances from point A to point B in hopes of finding some sort of pattern, it would seem more logical to compare already known standard points of reference used on your car, i.e., the 4 wheel alignment settings, as that would seem the most likely place for some sort of damage to show up, even if you have no visible damage on your shock towers.

    They measure various tolerances and have established ranges (BMW settings) for such things as camber, caster, and toe. They also have ranges for cross camber, cross caster and total toe (which if out of spec may indicate something is bent). The same goes for the rear. Get a data base of these numbers and then cross reference them to the vehicles which show damage and those that do not and you might have something... but it only begins to mean something if you have a large enough sample (which we do not considering we have about only 30 people on this board who respond regularly and only about 150 total active members... which is less than 3% of Z8 owners worldwide), certainly not very significant, statisically speaking that is. But then again, I am not a professional statistician either.

    I personally do not have the time, resources or patience for such an undertaking and I seriously doubt anyone else on this board does (I could be wrong here). Although this board is a great avenue for dissemination of information, it really is not the appropriate avenue to collect accurate data and would never, IMHO, hold up to scientific scrutiny.

    Anyone else's trigger finger getting itchy with regard to the class action suit? I am beginning to agree with those that think that this may be our single best
    remedy. Even the paragraph posted above regarding the FTC response meantions that legal council is probably necessary to bring the best remedy. I am not generally in favor of legal proceedings but this seems to be going no where and when that occurs, leads me to seek a legal solution.

  43. #43
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness
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    Sad but true ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    and wait for an official response from BMW but IMHO, all of the measurements and results do not mean anything ....
    While I'm all pumped up and ready to do *anything* out of desperation, I have to admit that your comment above is right on the spot

    We really need BMW to speak to us!
    2003 Z8 Black/Red

  44. #44
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    Although this board is a great avenue for dissemination of information, it really is not the appropriate avenue to collect accurate data and would never, IMHO, hold up to scientific scrutiny.
    You are right, measuring known values is the right thing to do to get more precise results. Everything else can only detect the more significant deformations.
    And you are right, we have nothing in our hands right now that would substantiate a claim in court.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    Anyone else's trigger finger getting itchy with regard to the class action suit? I am beginning to agree with those that think that this may be our single best
    remedy. Even the paragraph posted above regarding the FTC response meantions that legal council is probably necessary to bring the best remedy. I am not generally in favor of legal proceedings but this seems to be going no where and when that occurs, leads me to seek a legal solution.
    With all respect, you have read the second statement of the Club, so your comment that this is going nowhere is speculation and only heats up the current situation.
    You also stated that we have nothing in our hands that is sound enough to start a class action.
    I agree with your idea to test wheelbase and other known settings in addition to the tests described before. Once every owner knows his values, and once we know that there is something in common, and once we know that there is nothing coming back from BMW, we should probably discuss legal action IMO.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  45. #45
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    Am I correct in assuming that any deformation of the frame would affect one of the mentioned alignment measurements such as camber, caster, toe, etc.? If so, it should be an easy step to have our cars put onto a Hunter alignment machine and compare the existing specs with the original factory specs. By comparing the results, there may be a common measurement that has changed which will give us a basis for class action. Right now, all we have in common is that we own Z8's and see some changes in our cars that may or may not be individual problems. I have made an appointment with my service center (who, along with the Field Service Engineer reported to know nothing about the problem) to have a full alignment report and mechanical inspection. I am also enjoying the hell out of driving topless in the crisp cold winter air (I am fortunate that my heat now works flawlessly).

  46. #46
    Z8 Novice phrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly
    I'm not familiar with the workings of a conference bridge?
    See http://www.freeconference.com/ for a free conference call bridge. It is also available in Germany at http://www.freiekonferenz.com/Home.asp or in the UK for 5p/minute at http://www.conferenceuk.com/. Callers pay their own long distance to the local conference bridge number.

    It is somewhat more cost effective than AT&T's $0.50 per caller per minute rate.

  47. #47
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Skype might be an alternative.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  48. #48
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    With all due respect to the club...

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    You are right, measuring known values is the right thing to do to get more precise results. Everything else can only detect the more significant deformations.
    And you are right, we have nothing in our hands right now that would substantiate a claim in court.
    The second statement from the club really means nothing. DO NOT misunderstand. I applaud the Z8 Clubs efforts but from an action perspective, but it appears to me that the Club are the only ones doing anything and it is one sided. BMW has done nothing except tell the club they are investigating the issue and thanks for the information. BMW has NOT issued a DIRECT statement to anyone! Therefore, how do any of us really know what kind of investigation they are conducting? Are we to just BELIEVE on faith that BMW is going to step up and do the right thing for all of us? I have lots of faith in many things in this world but that is honestly not one of them. I seriously doubt that given the potential cost this is going to be for BMW, I do NOT think they will be forthcoming with anything unless they are forced to.

    Another thread listed the chassis as a spare part at a cost of about $30,000 usd. For example, IF it is determined that there is a fundamental design flaw that makes everyone of our chassis' structurally unsound, then for BMW to replace everyone's frame would cost no less than $166,500,000.00 ... and that is for the cost of the chassis alone, not including the cost to do the frame off rebuild of everyone's car! Given the magnitude of the dollar amount involved here, BMW stands to loose an incredible amount here, both in reputation and money.

    I just do not see them voluntarily doing anything given the stakes and right now, other than them saying they are investigating the issue, they really are not doing anything of substance. Maybe they are, but it would sure be nice to know they are and have some sort of information on what and a time line as everyone of us agrees is needed.

    In my opinion, there is NO reason they have not notified ALL of the 5550 original owners in their data base to get their cars checked and notified ALL of their service centers around the world to evaluate everyones Z8 and send the information to them ( what I would call direct data and what I would think would be part of any investigation ). The only reason I can think they have not responded is that they really do not want to notify anyone or check anything as they probably already know the extent of the problem and they are not going to be forthcoming with anything. This is all probably a stall tactic till their attorneys help them get their ducks in a row for the inevitible... a class action lawsuit. But, if a class action were filed by all of us soon ... they would immediately have to provide a data base of owners, and they would be forced to respond and then everything would take it's course, good or bad.

    I have written to both Bill Stuart at Customer service and to the Owner's Circle and have had NO RESPONSE. In my opinion, this is a response in and of itself. To me, their silence speaks volumes.

  49. #49
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Bill Stuart

    I believe it was Andrew that informed us the Bill is taking a couple of months off. So, don't expect any response.
    thegunguy

  50. #50
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    That may be but...

    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy
    I believe it was Andrew that informed us the Bill is taking a couple of months off. So, don't expect any response.
    that still does not excuse the Owner's Circle for not responding or the fact that BMW NA has had no direct contact or the fact that BMW AG or NA have had no direct mailing to their data base of owner's.

    I appreciate very much the efforts of the Z8 Club as they are the closest folks geographically to BMW AG and they have some limited but direct access to various folks at BMW, which obviously can only help. I sincerely hope that their efforts bear fruit on behalf of all of us. My own reasons for posting information about a class action are borne out of an ever increasing sense that BMW will do nothing because we have not heard anything as an owner.

    I hope that the Club can represent our feelings accurately to BMW and that they will listen to them. Maybe next week we will hear what BMW is actually going to do about it. I still have some patience in me but it is waining a bit.... how about you?

  51. #51
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    This was originally a two sentence response - then...

    I just wanted to make sure that you knew that Bill is incommunicado ? not ignoring you.

    Now, I too am greatly appreciative and respectful of the actions that the German club is taking, but I somewhat agree with you that we may need to take matters into our own hands. Having members of the club that are employees of BMW could be a mixed blessing. While they provide us a priceless voice in Munich, they certainly cannot represent us as strongly as an unrelated party should things turn sour. Don?t get me wrong; it?s not a respect thing. It?s about objectivity and a conflict of agency.

    You make some good points (reasoning versus emotion) about pursuing legal action now as apposed later. However, I?m still not sure litigation is appropriate yet, and I?d like to try something first.

    I too am troubled that BMW has made an official statement to the owners through any means when a simple letter would be cheap and calming to us all, but what bothers me more is that no one at BMW NA or the US dealer network seems to know anything about this issue. Yes, it?s a rare car and all, but if AG knows about the issue, etc., why does NA seem to be ignorant on the matter? Is AG keeping them in the dark or is NA keeping us in the dark?

    I don?t want to be too critical since I?ve worked a multinational companies, and I know it?s not always so easy to keep everyone up to speed in multiple locations/countries. But if some team at AG has been assigned to investigate this issue you would think that some one would say, ?hey, we shipped over half of these bad boys to the US ? we should probably let someone at BMW NA know what?s going on?.

    My point is that NA needs to be educated, at least about our concern. I suggest that we all send a letter to Tom Purves (CEO NA), NA Customer Service, and out local dealers to inform them of our concern regarding this situation, and that we would like at least a formal response to our concern that will give us some indication of BMW?s commitment to us and specify a period for follow-up, investigation, etc.

    I prefer this approach to submitting complaints to our public servants, because these consumer protection groups and regulatory bodies typically have minimum thresholds before they perceive a real problem that requires action, and with a low volume vehicle like the Z8, we won?t move the meter. To make matters worse, most of these agencies are state funded, which waters down our power even more. Plus, we all know how fast things get done in the government. Then there?s the strength of the automotive industry lobby and the lack of sympathy from the clerk opening our letters complaining about our broken toy that cost more than their house, and on and on...

    I?m not saying that we shouldn?t write letters to the governing bodies. Just don?t expect much action, at least not in this century.

    Let me take a crack at a letter this weekend. I?ll post the template version for comment/editing. The way I look at it, stamps are cheap, and I?m guessing even a hundred or so letters to Mr. Purves in a limited period of time will get someone?s attention. I assume his office is at the NJ HQ. Does anyone know otherwise?
    thegunguy

  52. #52
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Nobody can stop you from doing what you want, however, consider a couple of questions:

    - 44 people are in the US poll minus at least me being from Germany (there are probably others from Europe that don't count)
    - 11 people have reported a tower damage (minus me at least, so it's ten)
    - the rest of the "hundreds of Z8 owners" here and at the other board don't seem to care enough to even enter into this first poll
    - most people here state that we should give BMW some time

    So talk about a class action:
    - you have 10 people that have a damage, they could start it.
    (I am not sure how somebody with an undamaged car could start a class action suit)
    - out of these 10 people, it is uncertain who actually wants to start anything at this point in time
    - out of these 10 cars, you don't have any proven record that they show the same damage, how the damage occured etc etc
    - you will have to proove in front of court that there is a design flaw, any idea how to do this? Based on which criteria?
    Apparently, the Z8 has passed all required tests at that time, or it wouldn't be on the market. So what do you base your claim on?

    BTW, there is no class action here in Germany AFAIK, so don't count the damaged cars in over here.

    I agree that it is a good idea to get BMW NA informed, that doesn't hurt anybody. And I also agree that the club is the best choice to communicate with BMW at this point.
    I again agree that there should be some statement from BMW soon, the more "legal" pressure we come up with, the more defensive it must be.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  53. #53
    Z8Mania
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    If you want a direct response from BMW, why not write them asking for one. They responded to the Club- in a letter personally addressed, if I am not mistaken. IMHO that is a direct response. They stated in that letter they do not think this is a safety issue and they are looking into it. So why would they send a direct unsolicited letter to other Z8 owners if they think there is nothing wrong currently? Just to unnecessarily scare them? My advice is that everyone just calm down and if you think you have a problem, work with your dealer to get it documented and go from there.

  54. #54
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Regarding writing to BMW....

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania
    If you want a direct response from BMW, why not write them asking for one. They responded to the Club- in a letter personally addressed, if I am not mistaken. IMHO that is a direct response. They stated in that letter they do not think this is a safety issue and they are looking into it. So why would they send a direct unsolicited letter to other Z8 owners if they think there is nothing wrong currently? Just to unnecessarily scare them? My advice is that everyone just calm down and if you think you have a problem, work with your dealer to get it documented and go from there.
    I did just that. As soon as I found out about this potetial problem, I wrote to Bill Stuart at BMW NA Customer service, Also wrote to Customer service via the Owner's Circle and NO RESPONSE. I called BMW NA Customer Service several times (others I know have too) and at first they said they were UNAWARE of the problem and then they said they would have to check into it and they would get back to me, a different rep. everytime and I have yet to hear back from any of them. I call that NO RESPONSE. Have you received anything directly from BMW? Did you contact them directly? IF you did get something directly from them then please share it with all of us.

    IF you read the letter to the Club carefully and with scrutiny, it does not state "they do not think this is a safety issue", what they state is "they are not aware of any safety relavent issues at this time", which is NOT an endorsement either way that the car is or is not safe. You must assume BMW's legal team crafted that letter. I can not imagine a scenario where they wouldn't.

    I was one of the first to advocate having your dealer check your Z8 and document/ inform the dealer of potential problem. Reading those that have done this, there is a common theme -- the dealers have been UNAWARE of a problem, which means BMW NA has not passed any information on to them. Either because they chose not to or because BMW AG has never informed them. I was one of the first to agree to give them some time to investigate this. Having some experience with faulty automobiles and safety relavent issues before, I also know that when millions of dollars on the line.... as a consumer, you have to "rattle the gage" so to speak to get the manufacturer to do something, otherwise it may take years to get it corrected.

    Just because the Z8 passed it's initial safety requirements and was sold on the market does not mean the there is not a safety issue. Remember the Ford Pinto and the exploding gas tank? Remember the Ford Explorer and it's rollover safety issues? Both sold and driven on roads worldwide. Both passed initial safety requirements that were in place at the time. Both major safety/design issues that the public discovered LATER but the company new about all the time and chose to sell the car anyway as it was too "costly" to change it or recall it. Other examples are out there too and I could go on and on. So what makes you think BMW would not be any different? Yes, they are the worlds largest retailer of premium luxury vehicles and have a reasonably good track record which makes all of us want to believe they will do the right thing but, if you look at their history, it is not perfect either (Z3 rear differentials coming loose, shock tower deformations on several recent models just to name a few).

    Believe me, just like you I want to believe that BMW AG will step up and do the right thing for all of us Z8 owners worldwide and I will say AGAIN, I applaud the Z8 Clubs efforts on behalf of all of us (which is also why I am also one of the first US members in that club too as I believed they could help us with various issues over time, I just never dreamed the first issue we needed the Clubs help on would be such a major one!) I am just not as optimistic as you are at this point that BMW will step up without being forced to. I am not convinced that a class action would be the only or best option at this point either, but the longer BMW goes without coming forward with a concrete statement and plan of action regarding the issue, the more we all need to be prepared for that scenario. The preverbial question is, how long do we give BMW to give us a concrete response?

  55. #55
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    The club has suggested a timeline already. Why do we have to discuss this every second day from scratch?
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  56. #56
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I am NOT trying to aggrevate you but

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    The club has suggested a timeline already. Why do we have to discuss this every second day from scratch?
    where is the timeline posted... I seem to have missed that one.

    I share your sentiments about having to go over and over this but if our board goes silent and we do not have a continued exhange of opinion (even if they are different), what message does that send or imply?

    Thank you Dieter for your help and opinion, I do value your imput on the issue as I do all the other Z8 owners here.

  57. #57
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Understood, and I agree to have the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wunderlich
    Almost two weeks after our first statement we are still asking all BMW Z8 owners until February 15.2006 to give us a feedback about inspecting your vehicles and inform us if your car has the damage or not. This will be our first step. So far about 80 BMW Z8 owners have reported their cars to us and it seems that about 25% of the reported cars might have the damage. Thank you for your support.

    The second step, until March 30.2006, will be to investigate and analyse the reported damages. We will do that simultaneously to the research of BMW AG to have a serious data base of our own so we are prepared for anything BMW AG in Munich likely comes up with. At this point in time counting numbers makes no sense to us because in a situation of arguing with BMW we have to verify any damage.
    That was what I was referring to.

    We need to have precise and undisputable data first to form our own technical opinion. So far we have exchanged ideas about damages detected by eyesight. Most of the cars showing a small change in the gaps will not have any damage, others that don't show a gap will probably have one.
    The better we are prepared on the technical side, the easier it will be to present the case.
    I don't want us to be turned down because we didn't do our due diligence here.
    I am sure there will be more information from the club as soon as they have some. No public announcement doesn't mean that there is nothing happening at all.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  58. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    Understood, and I agree to have the discussion.


    That was what I was referring to.

    We need to have precise and undisputable data first to form our own technical opinion. So far we have exchanged ideas about damages detected by eyesight. Most of the cars showing a small change in the gaps will not have any damage, others that don't show a gap will probably have one.
    The better we are prepared on the technical side, the easier it will be to present the case.
    I don't want us to be turned down because we didn't do our due diligence here.
    I am sure there will be more information from the club as soon as they have some. No public announcement doesn't mean that there is nothing happening at all.
    Those dates appear reasonable. March 30th is just a few weeks away.

    Is there a third date? That is, has the Club establish a date by which we can expect a formal response from BMW AG as to how they are going to handle damaged cars and reinforce undamaged ones?