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Old 01-02-2020, 03:49 PM
hpaddict hpaddict is offline
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BMW customer service going downhill?

When I first starting leasing back in 2013, I would always get a loaner even if the car was just coming in for an oil change. Then a few years ago it became they would call me an Uber. Just now today, it was Uber only one way to work. Getting back to the dealer was going to be completely my responsibility. Thought I bought a luxury car (440i - $60k MSRP), but now it looks like the customer service is about the same as Honda/Toyota/etc. My dealer is East Bay BMW in Pleasanton CA, a fairly affluent area where you see tons of BMW's. You'd think the dealership should be doing pretty well these days with the economy going the way it is. Don't see any reason to go back to BMW for my next lease, seeing as the customer service is now much worse, and a lot of other car brands have matched or surpassed BMW performance.
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:14 PM
gregmorin gregmorin is offline
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It's dealer policy not BMW corporate. My local dealer gives loaners for customers that bought them there. No Uber crap at mine.


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Old 01-02-2020, 05:15 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpaddict View Post
When I first starting leasing back in 2013, I would always get a loaner even if the car was just coming in for an oil change. Then a few years ago it became they would call me an Uber. Just now today, it was Uber only one way to work. Getting back to the dealer was going to be completely my responsibility. Thought I bought a luxury car (440i - $60k MSRP), but now it looks like the customer service is about the same as Honda/Toyota/etc. My dealer is East Bay BMW in Pleasanton CA, a fairly affluent area where you see tons of BMW's. You'd think the dealership should be doing pretty well these days with the economy going the way it is. Don't see any reason to go back to BMW for my next lease, seeing as the customer service is now much worse, and a lot of other car brands have matched or surpassed BMW performance.
East Bay BMW loaner policy is not too bad, e.g. Auto Nation ones have been for ages making customers wait an hour for Enterprise rental shuttle, then another hour at Enterprise to pick up Nissan Sentra.

It looks like my local dealer offers uber to and from work/home, that is good enough for me.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:22 PM
ClevelandBeemer ClevelandBeemer is offline
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Question OP. Did you make an appointment for a loaner or did you stop by out of the blue? I ask because almost none of the dealers have unlimited loaners. In my experience if you want a loaner you need to book a service appointment at least a few days in advance. For some dealers this advance booking extends to a few weeks out.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:07 PM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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I drove BMW's for 9 consecutive years and had a very good dealer. I can't recall free BMW loaners for oil changes. I usually waited and got some work done for the 60-90 minute wait.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:09 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by ClevelandBeemer View Post
Question OP. Did you make an appointment for a loaner or did you stop by out of the blue? I ask because almost none of the dealers have unlimited loaners. In my experience if you want a loaner you need to book a service appointment at least a few days in advance. For some dealers this advance booking extends to a few weeks out.
My local dealer now has a new service appointment portal. In the past the portal provides loaner as an option of transportation, but the latest version of the portal only provides "waiter", "have a ride already", and "take shuttle" as the only options.

eastbaybmw.com(and probably your local dealer too in OH) has the exact same service appointment portal.

So this does look like a BMWNA loaner policy change.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:26 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
I drove BMW's for 9 consecutive years and had a very good dealer. I can't recall free BMW loaners for oil changes. I usually waited and got some work done for the 60-90 minute wait.
My local dealer did provide loaners for oil changes up to my last visit about 10 months ago.

Their service appointment portal is now updated with no loaner option on any job. This same portal now shows up in other local dealer websites too, so it looks like it is a BMWNA sanctioned change.
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:03 PM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is offline
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Dealer's get a discount on the cars they buy for their loaner fleets. But, loaners still aren't free and somebody's paying for them. I suspect BMW NA pays for them when they're issued for warrant work. Somebody pays for those fancy dealership buildings, too. Guess who.

If a dealer can get you in and out for simple things, it's quicker to wait than make two trips to the dealership. I'm an extreme example of that. I live 90 miles from the BMW dealership I prefer to deal with. So, it's worth if for me to wait while my cars are being serviced. I get there at 7:30 a.m., beating most of the morning rush hour traffic, and I'm back home before the afternoon rush hour traffic. They also have Saturday hours for simple stuff (oil changes, tires, brakes, etc.).

I'll be getting a loaner this month, though. Frau Putzer's X3 is demonically possessed with a "driver restraint malfunction" warning. They've replaced the steering wheel to steering column "slip ring connector," and the driver's airbag. But, the warning back after two months. So, they're going to have to continue their Easter egging (swapping out parts until they find which was in bad). They'll have to order parts, and likely get BMW's permission on replacing the high-dollar parts. I suspect it's going to be the computer before it's all over. The last fault show up right as I started the car. Intermittent start-up faults are usually voltage transients in some digital device.
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:18 PM
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I think it's a stretch to say BMW's customer service is going downhill. This is probably based more on the people and management by dealership. I've had great SAs and poor SAs. I've been supplied rentals and also given a 7er as a loaner with my 4 series. Unless you live/work extremely close to a dealership a loaner for just an oil change probably is more hassle and time than it is worth to just wait the 45 mins or so.

I'd certainly say manufacturer quality has gone downhill as exhibited by the ever decreasing number of items covered under the "free" maintenance as well as its shortened period an non-transferable constraint. There also lacks common sense maintenance items that dealers aren't particularly setup to perform quickly such as many of the fluid changes which BMWs claims are "lifetime" fluids.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:25 AM
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I haven't noticed any change to the loaner policy in my area unless it has been in the last month. My local dealership is small and not in an affluent area and not only will they do loaners, but they will also exchange the loaner and your car at your home if you're close enough. That dealership requires a week notice to get a loaner. The dealership where I bought my car is far larger and busier and require two-ish weeks for loaner.

As much as I love the convenience of an automated appointment portal, I've found setting up the appointments by phone gets much better results when it comes to stuff like loaners. The dealership where I bought my GTI would provide loaners also, but you had to call them. The portal had no ability to indicate the need for anything beyond the service being performed.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:39 AM
SteveinArizona SteveinArizona is offline
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Appointments are great for scheduled maintenance. But when you get a CEL, or something goes wrong, you need the dealership to have adequate loaners to take care of you. Otherwise, why are we buying/leasing expensive luxury cars.

I wonder how much of it is a dealership issue and how much may involve other issues as well (corporate policy at manufacturer, etc.). My dealership is part of a group of dealerships for foreign brands including Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar/Land Rover, Acura as well as smaller stores for Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley, etc. There appear to be different policies for each yet they share common ownership and are all situated together.
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Old 01-03-2020, 06:41 AM
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BMW franchises have huge overhead and 'associates' and mechanics expect to make the big bucks. They are scratching for every cent of profit.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpaddict View Post
When I first starting leasing back in 2013, I would always get a loaner even if the car was just coming in for an oil change. Then a few years ago it became they would call me an Uber. Just now today, it was Uber only one way to work. Getting back to the dealer was going to be completely my responsibility. Thought I bought a luxury car (440i - $60k MSRP), but now it looks like the customer service is about the same as Honda/Toyota/etc. My dealer is East Bay BMW in Pleasanton CA, a fairly affluent area where you see tons of BMW's. You'd think the dealership should be doing pretty well these days with the economy going the way it is. Don't see any reason to go back to BMW for my next lease, seeing as the customer service is now much worse, and a lot of other car brands have matched or surpassed BMW performance.
That's your dealer--not BMW. Loaners are not guaranteed.

But if enough customers leave that dealer for another dealer that provides loaners, they'll change back in a hurry.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:17 AM
SteveinArizona SteveinArizona is offline
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That's your dealer--not BMW. Loaners are not guaranteed.
True. But from a customer position, it shouldn't matter whether the problem is with BMW or a BMW dealership. If I buy a Sony television set from BestBuy and it doesn't work right, I go back to Bestbuy.

Customer satisfaction involves the entire transaction, not just the manufacturer. BMW knows this which is why it is so fixated on the customer reviews. Perhaps a negative review everytime the dealership doesn't have a loaner will make the dealership start stocking more loaners.

I have never had a problem getting a loaner, even on no notice. But if I did, that would impact on my future purchase. If I have to go and arrange a rental car, I might as well purchase a nice Mazda 6.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:28 AM
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Return sales is the only customer response that matters. I did not purchase from my servicing dealer, and they know that this is to be my last auto purchase. A loaner is appreciated but not expected. Were I to have to buy another car it would probably be a BMW, hopefully a diesel. I'll do my best not to buy a UAW car.
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
it looks like it is a BMWNA sanctioned change.
I agree. East Bay BMW has been owned by Hendrick Automotive Group for over 25 years; a change like what hpaddict described is more likely to be a result of BMWNA policy than of Hendrick policy.

Besides, BMWNA has made some other other changes since 2013 that diminish the customer experience:
  • Reduction in coverage for Ultimate Care maintenance program
  • Less appealing European Delivery program
  • Discontinuation of MSD for leasing, followed by re-introduction but only in certain regions
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Old 01-03-2020, 10:56 AM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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I'll do my best not to buy a UAW car.
That means Tesla still qualifies then.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:02 AM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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I agree. East Bay BMW has been owned by Hendrick Automotive Group for over 25 years; a change like what hpaddict described is more likely to be a result of BMWNA policy than of Hendrick policy.
This portal change seems to be quite recent, probably within the last 2 months, or maybe even as recent as Jan 1 2020.

In the past some local dealers(in a Group F market) modified the "transportation" options on the BMW portals, but many others have same "waiter", "own transportation", "shuttle", "loaner" options. But now the new portal uniformly has no "loaner" option.

This may signal a change in the discounts of BMWNA to dealers buying loaners too(just a guess).

BTW another change is that BMW Value Service is now accessed with a few more clicks through the webpage, and new customers may not even be aware of these discount prices with the new setup.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:05 AM
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I'm guessing it costs the dealer north of $50 per day to provide a loaner. I don't expect one when I get an oil change, particularly if it's an out-of-pocket "Value Service $79.99 oil change".

For anything more than an oil change (e.g. a campaign) I've always been provided a loaner, or a valet who comes to my house, drops off a loaner, and takes my car to the dealership.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:38 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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I could get a loaner for an oil change but choose to show up early and wait. Actually less time to wait than what it would take to return the loaner. I've never had a problem getting a loaner when needed. But I do call ahead for an appointment at the dealer the car was purchased from.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveinArizona View Post
True. But from a customer position, it shouldn't matter whether the problem is with BMW or a BMW dealership. If I buy a Sony television set from BestBuy and it doesn't work right, I go back to Bestbuy.

Customer satisfaction involves the entire transaction, not just the manufacturer. BMW knows this which is why it is so fixated on the customer reviews. Perhaps a negative review everytime the dealership doesn't have a loaner will make the dealership start stocking more loaners.

I have never had a problem getting a loaner, even on no notice. But if I did, that would impact on my future purchase. If I have to go and arrange a rental car, I might as well purchase a nice Mazda 6.
BestBuy is under no obligation to provide you with a loaner TV if yours is being fixed. And if they do, they are free to change their policy any time. And, as a customer, you are free to take your business elsewhere.

And...you don't have to go back to THAT BestBuy. If the manager at the BestBuy you purchased from is a jerk, you can go to another BestBuy where maybe you are treated better.

If BestBuy has bad customer service, change stores. If a dealer changes their loaner policy, then change dealers.

Unless and until BMW mandates that all dealers must provide loaners all the time, the solution is to take your business elsewhere. And if you live in a place where there's only one BMW dealer...well then you're screwed.
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Old 01-03-2020, 11:57 AM
SteveinArizona SteveinArizona is offline
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I agree. But as you note, we are under no obligation to keep buying these cars. Convenient loaners are a major benefit of luxury car purchases and I feel no obligation to BMW to keep buying their cars.

If the cars and ownership experience are better elsewhere, I will go elsewhere. It is up to BMW to retain me, not the opposite.
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Old 01-03-2020, 12:13 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by dwlink View Post
There also lacks common sense maintenance items that dealers aren't particularly setup to perform quickly such as many of the fluid changes which BMWs claims are "lifetime" fluids.
Local dealer did an oil change + brake fluid + coolant change in 2 hours 1+ years ago, the car was dropped off at 8:00am and ready by 10:00am.

In fact BMWNA has fast service items that should be done within an hour, e.g. :

https://www.classicbmw.com/bmw-fastservice/

Oil change, brake fluid, brake pads, etc, etc, are included.
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:23 AM
adhrp adhrp is offline
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The policy change might be due to the following: https://www.latimes.com/business/aut...ting-practices

And here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/23/b...s/bmw-sec.html

The SEC is investigating BMW for inflating sales numbers. I believe the "inflated sales" include loaner vehicles.

Edit: added an additional link to the article.
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Old 01-04-2020, 07:30 AM
SteveinArizona SteveinArizona is offline
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Originally Posted by adhrp View Post
The policy change might be due to the following: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bmw-u...121012453.html

The SEC is investigating BMW for inflating sales numbers. I believe the "inflated sales" include loaner vehicles.
If the dealers are actually using the loaners as loaners, it shouldn't be an SEC issue. So defending against the SEC would argue for more loaners, not less, as the company might need to show that they are really loaners and not disguised phony sales.
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