RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm
The Consumer Show

The Consumer Show

BMW

BMW sells its cars as "The Ultimate Driving Machine" which bring drivers “Joy” but owners who contacted The Consumer Show have had a different experience.

After featuring a complaint from BMW owner Michael Kearns in the first episode of the series, The Consumer Show received a number of emails and phone calls from others with the same problem. 

They complain that their 3-series models, which have direct injection petrol engines and were bought and registered in 2007 & 2008, have been in and out of the garage on numerous occasions needing particular engine components replaced time and again.  The problem is with fuel injectors and engine coils which repeatedly malfunction.  Having paid a lot of money for their luxury cars, the BMW owners featured in this programme have been left very disappointed with the reliability of their cars.

The Consumer Show met with the owners of five different BMWs which share the identical problem.  Owner Michelle Keane told us her 2008 model has needed its engine coils replaced six times and said that it has broken down in the middle of a busy motorway.  She has lost confidence in her car:  “My car broke down six times and it was a standing joke that it spent more time on the back of a tow truck than it did in the driveway.”

Hilary Shanahan, whose car has needed replacement parts on several occasions, was so worried about the cost of replacing the problem parts that she bought an extended warranty:  “I need a reliable car for my job and I have completely lost faith in my car at the moment.”

The Consumer Show consulted an independent BMW mechanic, Dave Quinn, who said that, in his experience, problems with some 3-series, direct injection petrol models are quite common.

A BMW Ireland spokesperson told The Consumer Show:  “BMW Ireland issued a quality enhancement campaign resulting in the replacement of affected coils and injectors with modified parts where required. All cars booked into a BMW Dealer for service are checked for outstanding quality enhancements – a process that only a BMW Dealer can carry out.

If we find a problem of this nature or we suspect it may be about to manifest itself and the car is within warranty or a reasonable goodwill period, we will replace the relevant parts free of charge.

For anyone who is concerned that their car may have been affected by this issue, BMW have issued the following phone number: 1890 719 421

Alan Nolan, Director General of The Society of the Irish Motor Industry, explained to Keelin that when a problem arises with a car it would be normal for a consumer to expect the problem to be sorted by the dealership first time.  More complicated problems can take a few visits to fix, but you would expect them to be as few as possible.  If there was a problem that was inherent in the car when it was sold, then that should never be the customer’s problem, it should be the responsibility of the person who sold the car (the dealer), and behind them will be the manufacturer.

Since The Consumer Show filmed with Hilary Shanahan, she has reached an agreement with her dealer.

Statement from BMW:
Of the five customers you refer to one car is still in warranty which we honoured and the remaining four customers benefitted from our goodwill policy even though their warranties expired many years ago.
The symptoms they experienced are misfires in the engine or difficulty in starting and a loss of power. These are not safety related issues and the cars can still be driven a short distance to a BMW Dealer for repair.
BMW Ireland issued a quality enhancement campaign resulting in the replacement of affected coils and injectors with modified parts where required. All cars booked into a BMW Dealer for service are checked for outstanding quality enhancements – a process that only a BMW Dealer can carry out. If we find a problem of this nature or we suspect it may be about to manifest itself and the car is within warranty or a reasonable goodwill period, we will replace the relevant parts free of charge.
Customers with questions as to whether any quality enhancement is due for their car can contact a BMW Dealer or telephone BMW Customer Services on 1890 719421.
The trade in value of a used car is influenced largely by current market trends. Customer buying patterns have changed significantly in recent years with a big swing in demand for diesel cars and a corresponding fall in demand for petrol models. In 2007 44% of BMWs sold were diesel models. This year 96% of our customers elected to purchase a diesel powered car. This change in preference has a knock-on impact on used values of petrol models and is common throughout the industry.

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