Sales and Service Booms from 25 Years of “The BMW Effect”

October 2, 2019 | By | Reply More
bmw-spartanburg-south-carolina-plant
BMW has seen 25 years of quadruple growth in the South Carolina region with installation of its sprawling Spartanburg plant.

Twenty five years after BMW came to the United States with full scale manufacturing, service and support, its entrance is known as “The BMW Effect.” Since then, auto manufacturing with BMW and 400 other organizations that followed or joined with The Ultimate Driving Machine in the South Carolina region has quadrupled in size to a $27 billion annual impact. And BMW’s national presence has taken off, significantly upgrading the importance of BMW vehicle service at independent BIMRS shops as well as at BMW dealerships, tremendously enhancing the brand’s image.

BMW-spartanburg-plant
BMW plant at Spartanburg, SC is state of the art, turns out nearly 500,000 mostly SUV vehicles every year.

Today, BMW maintains one of the worldwide firm’s largest manufacturing plants in Spartanburg, South Carolina, building nearly 500,000 vehicles a year and basically the firm’s entire mix of SUVs. This plant will build the first salvo of hybrid electric vehicles as 2020 models, with technical support for service and maintenance throughout the country. 

Near Spartanburg, the rise of the automotive industry led to the creation of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). Since opening in 2007, CU-ICAR (unrelated to I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair) has become a strong player in the automotive industry, offering masters and doctorate degrees in automotive engineering, giving staff and students the ability to conduct cutting-edge research. 

BMW built its International Technical Research Center (ITRC) on the campus, offering advanced degrees and the ability for students to study vehicle service as well as manufacturing. A large number of automotive firms including BMW, Michelin, and Bosch have partnered with CU-ICAR and contributed to its mission or have headquarters on the campus. 

Nearby, the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, a partnership between Greenville Technical College and CU-ICAR, offers an in-house vehicle assembly center to train students.

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BMW built its International Technical Research Center (ITRC) on the CU-ICAR campus to offer advanced automotive engineering degrees and studies of manufacturing and automotive service.

Training Is Paramount

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BMW tech centers train auto technicians in what they need to know to handle technical aspects of BMW vehicle service, including servicing and maintaining electric vehicles.

Ultimate Driving Machines are highly advanced, high powered vehicles that demand superior service and maintenance, and BMW has moved quickly to give owners in this country cutting edge service supported by superior training, both for management at the shops which perform the service and maintenance, and for the technicians who work on the vehicles.

Of vital importance to superior service is up-to-the minute training and support for hundreds of independent BIMRS shops. With members in four continents, BIMRS is the non-profit educational association serving the needs of hundreds of top BMW Service Professionals (bimrs.org). BIMRS hosts an annual conference where shop owners and technicians can receive training, on the latest topics, that are presented by top industry authorities on BMW service and repair (bimrsmeeting.com). An exclusive members-only forum provides access to years of information, resources, tech tips and more on their organization’s website bimrs.org

Current hot topics include: 

  • Mini PHEV Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles 
  • GDI Technology, Diagnosis & Field Issues 
  • BMW Active Hybrid Vehicles 
  • Diagnosing Difficult Deposit Related Driveability Concerns 
  • BMW ADAS
  • BMW Coding, Programming and Initialization 
  • Technology Needs for Today’s Diagnostics
  • And many additional topics.

BMW also operates tech centers in
Woodcliff Lake, NJ; Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; Greer, SC; Ontario, CA; Orlando, FL; Oxnard, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Atlanta, GA, primarily to train technicians for their own dealerships in the latest service requirements and techniques – including servicing the new breed of hybrid or fully electric vehicles.

BMW Boosts Battery Production, Doubles EV Growth

Preparing for the next stage in electric propulsion, BMW is two years early with electric vehicles, plans 25 electrified models by 2023, with sales of electric vehicles more than doubling between 2019 and 2021 and climbing more than 30 percent per year up to 2025. Supporting this, BMW is significantly boosting U.S. battery production to support all electric vehicle (BEV) production, and dramatically upgrading the X3 and X5 plug-in hybrids on existing platforms. 

The just-announced 2020 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid gets more electric range, XtraBoost performance, a bigger battery, stronger acceleration, and a new Predictive mode that decides when to go all-electric. Obviously, this greatly enhances already mastered service capabilities on E3 and E5 vehicles. 

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Progress on the update will be illustrated in the dashboard display, giving the user the option of choosing to install update, which usually takes a short time. When completed, the display will indicate the update is completed.

Curing “Throttle Lag”

Some owners are complaining about “throttle lag” on several 3 and 5 series vehicles. Not a turbo lag, this hesitation frustrates drivers who push on the accelerator to go – but don’t go. Inexplicably, the car just sits there for a while, then takes off with a surge, or hesitates when accelerating to pass.

The problem is probably related to the system “memory” studying driving style and basically programming the throttle to respond in exactly the way the current driver – or an earlier driver – has driven. A couple of ways to defeat this “memory” include a simple maneuver with the key and accelerator pedal, and/or a software update from BMW.

The maneuver, recommended in several BMW forums, is:

  • Take foot off brake (and do not push brake!)
  • Press Start to turn on car (but do not start, and no brake or car will start)
  • Press accelerator down and hold for about 30-60 seconds
  • Press Start to turn off car
  • Release accelerator
  • Wait two minutes
  • Start car

This should mitigate the “memory,” and allow quicker acceleration, at least for a while.

If this workaround doesn’t help, request a software update at bmw.com/en/footer/software-updates.html. This will bring up a form requesting the vehicle VIN. Once supplied and the appropriate update selected, BMW will provide the means to download the update to a USB drive on your computer. Once the update is downloaded to the USB drive, insert the drive in the USB slot in the vehicle console and follow instructions, which should appear on the dash display, to execute the vehicle update,

Hopefully, once the update is installed, this should make the driver happy to be driving the Bimmer that goes when he says go, as he or she is expecting.

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