I dont have a bmw but do love bmw's and have many a time considered replacing my audi or getting a bm to run alongside.
So i sent the head of bmw uk an email...
Firstly my apologies for emailing you directly Mr Abbott however I feel an email to customer services will be either lost in the ether or ignored.
There is a growing PR issue for BMW at the moment with some of your latest cars being stolen using cloned BMW keys. I realise BMW may be aware of this however it is starting to spread across internet forums and is according to certain posts becoming a problem for BMW with various now ex owners stating that they will not be buying another BMW.
In the UK it is going to mean that certain BMW's that may not be in a very high insurance group will start attracting very high and unfavourable insurance quotes putting people off buying them as much as the possibility of theft.
Pistonheads is one of the biggest if not the biggest online motoring forum and in fact BMW have hosted many Pistonheads Sunday Services. Please note this thread from the forum...http://www.pistonheads.co.uk/gassing/topic.asp?h=0...
And this one please take special note of last post from the individual who's car was stolen...http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&a...
and this one from a bmw specific forum..http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66...
There are others I am sure however I haven't the time to find them all and you haven't the time to read them all either I expect.
As you can see people are talking and this is going to become a bigger and bigger problem for bmw from a PR perspective especially if picked up by watchdog uk. The internet spreads thing like wildfire. People are unhappy as BMW are seen to be non reactive and non fussed about the issue.
I would suggest getting BMW's PR dept onto this and have them get the message out to the press. Possibly along the lines of " BMW are aware of a new trend in vehicle thefts and are investigating the methods used with a view to rectifying any potential security shortfalls as quickly as possible."
BMW's unlike other makes are bought by people passionate about the marque and as such they talk to each other and in this modern tech age bad news spreads very fast. It takes years to build a reputation it takes nowhere near as long to destroy it.
Dear Mr X
Thank you for your email dated April 17, 2012 addressed to Mr Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW UK which has been forwarded to me for a response. I am sorry that you have had cause to contact under such circumstances and that this issue has caused you concern. I would however like to thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding this matter,
I wish to assure you that all BMW products sold within the UK Market comply with all EU safety and security requirements. In the UK specifically we ensure that the vehicles are tested against Thatcham requirements. However there are likely to be instances where a determined criminal can establish methods to gain entry into a BMW or any other manufacturers vehicle, regrettably this is outside of our control. I am sure you will appreciate that BMW cannot be held responsible for any incidents of this nature. However, BMW and its partners continue to work closely with the Police to monitor all methods of vehicle theft to ensure our products always remain in the hands of the rightful owner.
Once again, I am sorry you have had cause to contact us under such circumstances and I trust that the information provided is of use.
Or to put in simple terms bmw really couldnt give a flying f
k about the problem or the bad pr it is generating.....
Sorry to say this is not the response I was hoping for but the response I was expecting. The simple fact is criminals have found a gaping flaw in the security system of certain bmw's between 07 and 2011 and present where they can steal the cars with ease without even breaking the cars windows.
They simply user a jammer to block the car from locking then plug a key coder into the obd port and code a blank key to the car. They then use this key to start the car and drive it away and no one is any the wiser till the owner goes to use the car and finds it gone. The alarm never goes off.
The question therefore has to be raised. Where are they getting the blank bmw keys from? The obd key programming kit is available online for around 300 quid.
I am also led to believe that they can gain access by breaking the window and reaching in and plugging the code kit into the obd without tripping the alarm as there is a black spot in the cars interior security sensor system apparently according to a bmw technician.
Ignoring the issue and claiming that the cars all conform to EU safety and security requirements DOES not address the problem. There is a distinct security flaw in bmw's system. There is no code required by the cars obd system to allow a person to recode a new key to the car and apparently you can break a window reach in and plug the obd device into the car without tripping the alarm system and code a new key to the car.
If BMW wishes to bury their head in the sand over this issue and lose lots and lots of present and future customers it is your choice. However I suspect this is going to go much the same way as the BMW cracking alloy wheel issue highlighted on BBC watchdog only it's going to be a much bigger PR problem as no one is going to want to buy a car which can be easily stolen due to a gaping flaw in its security system.
Thank you for your response however.