BMW CLASSIC CENTER OPENS CUSTOMER WORKSHOP
The BMW Classic specialist workshop will no longer only be repairing and restoring its own classic vehicles, but also those belonging to customers. The BMW Classic Center closes the final gap in the complete range of services offered to owners of classic BMW models from every era. Just like owners of new vehicles, classic owners can place their car in the hands of specialists, who can draw on the best expertise anywhere in the world.
The worldwide interest in BMW's classic cars and motorcycles is growing. The 200 or so clubs alone account for some 200,000 members. The number of historic BMWs is estimated at around 600,000 - and those are just the ones they know about. Added to those are some 70,000 classic motorbikes, which means roughly 10% of BMWs built up until the 1980s is still on the road today. And with every year that passes, the number of classic BMWs increases. Thus the early generations of the high-volume BMW 3, 5 and 7 Series already belong to the ranks of modern classics.
With interest growing, BMW Classic has responded to the wish of many enthusiasts to own a vehicle that is as faithful as possible to the original and in the best possible condition.
"The great advantage for customers who bring their vehicle back to the original manufacturer is the complete range of services available under one roof. We have the theoretical knowledge of the vehicles, the technical know-how, the original BMW parts and the necessary infrastructure to connect everything systematically," said Ralf Vierlein, Head of Sales and Aftersales for BMW Group Classic.
In order to cope with the rising demand, BMW Group Classic launched the "Customer Workshop" project: "We've had enquiries from Romania, Spain and even Brazil. So we are now looking for partners abroad with whom we can work in future," said Dr Thomas Tischler, Service Team Manager at BMW Classic and responsible for the project. The first of these are already on board: in 2009 the BMW Classic Center opened its first branch in Switzerland. For quite some time, the BMW branch in Zurich's Dielsdorf district had noticed a growing number of BMW classics in its catchment area, and consequently an increased demand for professional servicing. That was followed by the BMW branch in Dusseldorf, which goes by the name of BMW Classic Center NRW [North Rhine-Westphalia] and looks after a large stock of BMW classics in the region.
The "Customer Workshop" project is now being gradually expanded to other regions of Germany as well as to other countries with large classic and modern-classic potential. The BMW Car Club of America alone has more than 70,000 members, and the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association of America some 50,000 of whom, according to reliable estimates, are the proud owner of between three or four bikes. Ralf Vierlein said: "We are planning to set up a Classic Center in the USA with its own spare parts supply for professional and private customers."
For decades BMW Classic has been expanding its range of original BMW parts for classic vehicles. The catalog currently comprises 30,000 components. The vast majority are parts for the classics that took to the road after 1948. Today, anybody who wants to realize a dream of owning a BMW 2002 or BMW R 75/5 has no need to worry about maintenance and repairs.
As a rule, the responsibility for parts supply for motorcycles devolves to BMW Group Classic 20 years after production ceases, while in the case of cars it depends on volume after a model series has been discontinued. The simplest aspect is the transfer of components still in stock: they remain physically in the BMW parts supply center at the Dingolfing plant, and are only transferred organisationally to BMW Group Classic. Also linked with this is the responsibility for the tools and production machinery used to manufacture the parts. And the decision on their future requires careful consideration: once production resources have been scrapped, the possibility of straightforward remanufacturing of the relevant parts in their original condition is lost forever. Incidentally, this affects not only the tools with which the parts fabricated by BMW itself have been produced; experts from BMW Classic also have a say in the fate of important production installations of suppliers and sub-contractors. At the top of the priority list of production facilities are body presses and complex molds for model-specific components. Every part of the tooling that is relevant for subsequent fabrication is put into storage.
Defective or worn vehicle components do not always need replacing by new parts. Engines and transmissions, dynamos and electronic controls lend themselves to reconditioning. In this case, a classic engine in need of an overhaul receives no less attention and expenditure than one of today's units: both are dismantled and overhauled at the Landshut plant. And every engine reconditioned by BMW carries a two-year guarantee, irrespective of production year and model. What applies here is the exchange principle: in return for the defective engine, the customer is given a replacement unit which, in terms of quality and functioning, is as good as a new engine. The supply of dynamos and electronic components operates in the same way. In this case, however, it is not BMW that does the reconditioning, but the original supplier.
The complete catalog of components held in stock is listed on the internet and is continuously updated. Anyone looking for a particular part can find out about it there. Access to the on-line parts catalogue is available at www.bmw-classic.com. Specific repair equipment for vehicles dating from the 1960s is available in the same way as the parts.
In addition to this, BMW is one of the few manufacturers offering extensive and detailed authentication for classic BMW cars and motorcycles. The certificate gives information on the historical integrity and condition of the classic model. Modifications carried out over the years in the course of repairs or restoration are often difficult to recognize. BMW Classic has the skills to examine historic BMWs and verify how original they are. When drawing up a BMW vehicle authentication, the experts at the BMW Classic Center work closely with their colleagues from the BMW company archive. It is there that important data on a vehicle's history can be reconstructed. The BMW vehicle authentication is an important tool with which to assess the correct market value of a classic BMW. It gives the client certainty as to the value of his property and serves as a reliable basis for negotiation when buying or selling.
And even those interested in a possible purchase, but who are still undecided about buying a particular vehicle, can be helped by BMW Classic to make up their mind: in Munich a small number of historic vehicles are available for hire, from the Isetta to the 3.0 CSi and 1802, all the way to the Z1. At the wheel of one of these, you can literally feel the fascination of classic BMW automobiles.
BMW Group Classic is expanding with its new Motorsport division as well. It will offer assistance in everything to do with classic competition vehicles from BMW and Mini.
The activities of the motorsport specialists extend from advice on servicing and repair, through parts procurement, right up to complete restoration - drawing on the definitive skills of the manufacturer.
Classic Grand Prix, Festival of Speed, Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic - motor racing with historic cars is experiencing a boom. More competitions are exerting a magnetic pull on participants and spectators alike. And almost always there are one or more BMWs on the starting grid. To ensure that these vehicles remain raceworthy, as from January 2010 BMW Classic has set up a dedicated Motorsport division whose aim is to provide the same comprehensive service for classic racing cars as BMW Classic does for road vehicles.