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Regular vehicle maintenance can often be a tricky subject, both from a customer and dealer perspective. Delayed scheduling and lack of routine servicing can often cause problems down the road for the former, while it can eat into profits for the latter.
In an attempt to rectify the problem, BMW North America is embarking on a plan to make better use of its onboard vehicle diagnostic system. Known as TeleService, the system is designed to automatically diagnose potential vehicle problems or maintenance requirements and then trigger a request for service to the automaker.
BMW then forwards the request onto the dealership closest to the owner of the vehicle, which can then follow up with the customer and make the scheduled appointment.
However, despite being an effective system in theory, in practice it has proved harder to implement, with some dealers simply not responding to follow ups. In order to improve the situation, BMW has said it plans to take a number of steps. These include introducing a program that helps assist dealers who could make more service appointments using TeleService, sending out BMW staff to under performing retailers to help train employees to better use the system, improving communication channels to make it easier for dealers to schedule appointments as well as providing greater awareness to BMW customers via direct marketing.
At present, according to BMW NA Aftersales Systems manager Tom Black, the company has some 800,000 vehicles on the road using the TeleService system and last year, corporately handled some 938,000 individual automated service requests, so the potential for generating business and improving customer satisfaction is significant.
[Source: Auto News]
Say it ain’t so, Bavaria! The Motoren Werke is finally abandoning their RWD-only stance, and will introduce a FWD compact BMW by 2015.
BMW has famously prided itself on its rearward motivation, but in an effort to give consumers “greater choice,” they are experimenting with all sorts of vehicles and propulsion systems: electric cars, hybrids, diesels, and 12-cylinder engines. And in the shuffle comes this revelation from BMW North America’s CEO Jim O’Donnell: a volume car at the bottom end will be FWD, and still proudly wear the propeller badge.
A contradiction? To enthusiasts, perhaps. But this is an effort for BMW to raise their corporate miles per gallon, and to provide consumers with that all-important choice: it would allow BMW to compete with the Mercedes A-Class, in the premium compact car segment that’s booming in Europe but still seems bizarre to American markets (as BMW 318ti drivers can attest). And if this choice contradicts the existence of the Mini Cooper, then so be it.
BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell apparently made some “disparaging” remarks about electric vehicles, including his dislike for EV tax credits, and his belief that the battery range currently available makes them an unrealistic proposition for “at least 90 percent” of the population.
O’Donnell subsequently apologized for his remarks, and re-affirmed his commitment to BMW’s EV program, stating ”I want to stress I am 100% behind our company’s plans to design, develop, lease and sell electric vehicles. We are confident we are on the right path with the range and flexibility of the all-new BMW ActiveE and the forthcoming BMW i3 (seen above).”
For our part, we think O’Donnell was being candid and perhaps a bit too honest, especially regarding the company he works for, but we are inclined to agree with his original statements, despite our enthusiasm for electric car technology.