Originally Posted by Leo_328i
The real issue I have is that BMW is really just trying to be all things to all people.
What has always made BMW different, is that they were a small company, with VERY strong engineering principles. Now they are becoming a large company with VERY strong marketing / sales / financial principles. How did this happen you ask? When you hire someone who has a bunch of fancy degrees but truly doesn't appreciate the culture, history or soul of the company that is hiring them, you get a growing body of number crunchers; people who think, "wow, this looks great on paper so it must be great"; these people continue to grow in numbers has they begin to rise through the ranks and begin to impart a larger influence on the company's hiring practices, which in turn turns out more of this new breed of employee till finally their numbers and seniority are strong enough to change / alter affect the company's methods, beliefs and stated mission statement.
For those of you who have no idea what I'm blabbing on about, picture your local NHL team. Why NHL you ask? Because like BMW its a sport that despite is professional status, still behaves and feels much like a small sport that has hung onto its values and beliefs above all else. NHL teams have two distinct, and in many ways, separate divisions of the front office: the hockey operations and sales operations:
1) Sales encompasses all the smart marketing, sales, cost factoring
men and woman with fancy degrees and experience from many
places other than Professional Hockey.
2) Hockey operations encompasses your scouting department, talent
evaluation, GM, etc. Now, no right-minded owner has one side's
experts run the other sides.
You may say that one side "affects" the other and that is in fact true, but one does not in any way have the authority to make decisions for the other (salary cap concerns are actually managed by the hockey side).
BMW, as clearly evidenced by many of the bone-head statements from many of their new executives, has blurred the line of separation that NHL teams maintain and know to never blur. BMW continues to cut down on engineers, and load up on marketing and sales guys. Their heads of divisions continue to scare many of us with statements that expose their complete lack of understanding or appreciation of what has made BMW, and its brand, what it is today.
No, I am not yearning for them to remake the e36, I really don't have my head that far up my a**. What I am asking for, is for BMW to say, "This is who we are, we are not you, or him, or her, we are BMW. There are many things we do and many things we don't do. We focus on the things we do, maximize our profits, and continue to strengthen our identity and resolve to remember and maintain who we are." BMW has failed to do this and this failure I fear will grow like a cancer that can only weaken the company.
Rather you are seeing BMW do what many U.S. companies have done, and regretted: let their ego and greed convince them that they should do more, be more, and accomplish more. Its why many U.S. companies are being strangled under the reporting and operation requirements that comes with becoming a listed company; the effects of which they truly did not comprehend when deciding to go public. All they say were the dollar signs that CAN BE (not guaranteed) associated with going public. Hence, why the trend of the last few years is as many companies de-listing as listing, something, which by the way, takes a WHOLE LOT OF CAPITAL.
BMW decisions won't take hold today or even tomorrow, as the the reputation of the brand will withstand this onslaught for years, however, once the idea takes hold in the consumers minds that the product represents X, instead of Y, no matter what BMW does at that moment, she will begin to slide from public favor, which will further weaken the company.
BMW, is making the same mistakes Merc did oh so many years ago, mistakes that Merc has yet to recover from as evidenced by the decline in quality and market share as compared to 20yrs ago. Mistakes that were made well before any of us truly saw the impacts of those mistakes, but believe me, regardless of the delay of consequence stemming from our mistakes, the day of payment ALWAYS arrives.