Daniel, Peter and all at PMW, Where do I start? I guess I’ll tell the whole story! At 31 years old and on my fifth BMW I can’t believe it has taken me so long to find you! Having been messed around previously by a major BMW dealership I knew it was time to consider other options. I was introduced to your firm by a friend that owns an E90 M3 and was impressed by your service. In the same week, another friend recommended you. Two recommendations in one week, it had to be a sign. Both could not speak highly enough of your attitude, professionalism and end product. Time to call!…………… I originally spoke to Jayne who was warm, friendly and personable. I was passed to Peter and immediately knew that my car was going to PMW and nowhere else. Car rental was arranged and so when I dropped the car off, I had a car to drive away with and with minimum fuss. Having been dealing with main dealerships for so long, I predicted a call either at the end of the first day it was in the garage or the next morning. So, it came as a surprise to hear from Peter whilst I was driving home, some 30 minutes to an hour after I had dropped the car off. Peter knew there were things I personally wanted to do to the car, but suggested we prioritise works in order to mitigate the total costs. Hang on a second… A car garage worrying about MY money? This was getting too good to be true, surely. By the end of the first day, Peter had pointed out issues which he felt needed attention and we agreed to start works, costs were made clear before a spanner had been picked up. Whilst in the garage, I never had to call to find out what stage the repairs were at, I was always called and kept updated. Again, in stark contrast to my usual dealings with BMW dealerships. I picked my car up a few days later and Peter asked if I wanted to drive the car with him. I was just amazed that he was willing to take 5 minutes out of his day to make sure I was satisfied. Every garage should do it, but it really made it clear to me that PMW care about their clients. They care about their reputation and it shows in everything they do. The car was a dream, it just drove beautifully. A few days after the service, I booked the car into a BMW dealership to get the alloys re-furbed and a dent taken out. Having just been serviced by PWM, I only wanted aesthetic work done. So it came as a surprise when they called me (a day later!) to say the diff seals and gearbox seals needed replacing. Alarm bells ringing. Firstly, why are they checking mechanics when I didn’t ask for this, and secondly did PMW not do this work? I called Peter and he confirmed the seals were changed so back on the phone to BMW. I asked the BMW dealership what gave them the impression this work needed doing and they pointed to oil residue. I asked them if they had actually checked the seals and they hadn’t. After inspecting again, they (BMW) admitted the work had already been done and that they would have charged me for work that already been carried out. What a f******g liberty. I asked BMW not to look at my car anymore and to carry out the works I originally asked them to do. I have lost all faith in them, they really should be taking a leaf out of PMW’s book. The car was in the garage for three days for this work and I was called twice. Owning a business myself, my feelings are that any business shows it true colours when things go wrong, not when they are going smoothly. This leads to chapter two!………. Two weeks later, the car came up with a transmission fault whilst my wife was driving home. Straight on the phone to Daniel. Daniel agreed a tow would be best so as not to cause anymore issues and said he would arrange this immediately. He called me back within 15 minutes and the car was collected within the hour. Unbelievably efficient.The fault was found that day; a faulty pin in the transmission electrical plug. No bullshit, no messing around. An apology and the problem fixed within 24 hours. The entire situation was dealt with perfectly.I really cannot sing your praises enough PMW. I can only try to put into words how impressed I am and have been with your service, communication and the overall experience. Even my wife smiles like a Cheshire cat now and has asked me not to change cars as I usually do every 12 months. My Wife! Someone who just does not care about cars. So, not only have you made my car drive like a dream and made me the happiest car owner in London but you’ve also managed to make the wife happy as well, that deserves a bonus point.All my staff are bringing their cars to you (as you know). If I meet anyone in the street that owns a BMW, will be sending them you way, PMW are just on a different level. You are in a league of your own.Genuinely, keep up the amazing work Guys & thank you very , very much for everything. My car will not be going anywhere else in future, even if I moved abroad!Though I guess that’ll be a good excuse for a long drive?
Hi just wanted to leave some feedback to say thanks for dealing with my request
for swirl flap blanks so quickly. I ordered these at 12pm and they were with me
in the Western Isles before 11am the next morning! I needed to ask for some
advice when putting everything back together which I was given immediately over
the phone. All in all, a fantastic company which offered a customer service
level that was second to none!
After a bodged repair by a local London garage to my swirl flaps and deep concerns about my 2001 BMW 530D Touring I consulted Peter from pmwltd about the condition of my car. My regular mechanic whom I have known for 20 years simply took out my swirl flaps and replaced the shafts with bolts. This at some time later, only (900 miles) caused an ingestion into the chamber and ruined my piston and valves and looked like a very time consuming and costly repair. After completion I took my car to peter at pmw and discussed the works. He had his guys strip out the existing bolts that were very unprofessional and replaced with his swirl flap blanking plates. Now I have heard a lot about these plates and swirl flap damage and I can tell you as an ex AA Patrol man that if not done correctly as Peter has done you will cause serious damage to your beloved engine. This is a guy with a great team and a wealth of knowledge behind them who know their stuff, not your usual bit mechanic who ”
knows a bit about engines”. I drove down from Lewisham London to his workshops in Chelmsford and it only took an hour and was easy to get to. If I was you I would call them for your piece of mind because you know like I do that you don’t want just anyone tinkering with your pride and joy. Its worth the drive knowing your car is in safe and knowledgeable hands at pmw. He,s not a rip off either, he is a very reasonable honest mechanic and cheaper than the main dealers out there. Thanks peter.
A great piece in the Guardian this week has highlighted some of the curious paradoxes between China and the UK in terms of CO2 emissions and climate change, especially within the respective motor industries. It’s no secret that China’s rapidly growing and industrialising economy is responsible for colossal CO2 emissions - and indeed that its increasingly ever-crowded roads are a big part of this (1,500 new cars added every day).
Moreover while the UK’s economy has an inevitably smaller CO2 footprint - in terms of CO2 emissions per person we are of course far worse than our Chinese counterparts. But here’s the interesting statistic - even though both UK and Chinese drivers clearly have plenty reason to be concerned about CO2 - our Chinese counterparts are far more receptive to concepts of green motoring and hybrid vehicles than us.
In China 71% of motorists would consider an electric car, while in the UK the figure is just 37%. The stats for hybrids are similar - 54% and 30% respectively. Question is why does such a gulf exist between these motorists’ receptiveness to such technologies?
Could it be down to the fact that in China you can own a BYD petrol-electric hybrid (chargeable simply from a domestic supply rather than specialised power stations) for £15,000 while here in the Western world most options will set you back a fair bit more?
GM’s Chevy Volt for example is set to launch in 2011 and will cost around $27,000, while UK company Lightning is offering high-end sports hybrids for around £120,000 a piece (yes £120k - that was not a typo sadly). It’s true that you can get an entry level Prius for around £17,000 - but the problem is that these models will use far more petrol than the BYD option - which can go for up to 62 miles when fully charged before using a drop of petrol.
Considering the quality of options currently available to UK and Chinese motorists I’m not surprised we are seeing the latter far keener on these green technologies. Who needs loads of choice between moderate to expensive options when the Chinese market offers its customers one vastly superior option both in terms of economy and efficiency? I personally can’t wait for BYD to start exporting to the UK - maybe then we’ll see the aforementioned stats improve a little…
These days green is a big issue; in the spheres of politics, science and the media for example we are seeing a real focus on discussion and action aimed at tackling the climate change problem (or at least understanding it better). In the marketplace too we are increasingly seeing ‘green’ as being the new selling approach of choice for many companies and brands.
No longer is ‘coolness’ or ‘value’ consumer concern number 1 (though value for money and ‘greenness’ are increasingly linked). More and more we see environmental impact and implications emerging as the key selling aspect of new products and services.
Nowhere is this more clear than in the case of the motor industry, as we see greater emphasis on reducing the environmental impact of our motoring habits in advertising and news each day. From all corners we are offered a wealth of new consumer choices to help us reduce our ‘footprint’ (a Toyota Prius? Maybe a new BMW with Efficient Dynamics anyone?).
But one uneasy question springs to mind every time I see this: are companies simply pandering to our vague desire to be nice/good people/green while actually expoiting our lack of actual understanding about the issue to get us to buy their stuff?
As always the issue is not a simple one, and the answers are far from black and white. The problem is that for most adult consumers, environmental issues such as this are relatively new - they were not present in our school or university educations - and consequently the majority of our information on the topic has come from elsewhere.
The problem is that for many this ‘elsewhere’ usually means either the media, or consumer info on products or services (i.e. from someone trying to sell you something). Both sources are highly problematic.
In the case of the media, there is a wide range of sources of info available - from newspapers to online blogs (such as this one), magazines, TV etc etc. With climate change so key to public consciousness at the moment the quantity of competing ideas and new information can sometimes be overwhelming.
It is understandable that people are left baffled as to what makes sense and what doesn’t - (for an example of this, read this recent Times article on new research which proves that walking to the shops is more environmentally harmful than driving). Information is obviously a good thing - but too much of it can overwhelm and disorientate, which creates conditions whereby we are vulnerable to expoitation based on our lack of genuine understanding of the issues, bringing me back to the marketplace…
In the atmosphere of a soceity seeking to be green and reduce its footprint we are advised to do our bit (both because it makes economic, and also environmental, sense). Government funded adverts advise us to change to energy efficient bulbs, turn the tv off standby, check tyre pressure before driving and so on. Similarly advertising is informing us of where we are being ‘un-green’ and offering us a solution in the form of a new product, service or whatever.
No doubt most of what is being said is good advice - but let’s take the motor industry as a specific example, and dissect the mechanisms that operate in the advertising sphere. We all understand, if perhaps sometimes only vaguely, that cars are bad for the environment. Driving uses petrol, which creates CO2 emissions, which cause global warming, which is bad (and so the basic understanding goes in laymans’ terms).
So when Honda come along to tell you that they have a new car which will drastically reduce CO2 emissions, (not to mention save money on petrol and road tax) then you go out and buy it don’t you, or at least some people do.
The problem with all this is that if we really want (and I mean really really want - enough to actually make personal sacrifices for example, rather than just paying lip-service) to avert serious environmental disaster, then we all should stop driving altogether and take the bus or the train, plain and simple.
The extent of the problem is such that a drastic cut in emissions is now essential to tackle the problems we face - it is too late for a Prius to solve the problem, just as it is too late for inflated tyres or efficient driving to save the day.
Tips like efficent driving however help us make big changes a happen on a gradual level (obviously hundreds of thousands of people are not likely do ditch their cars overnight because a scientist said so, but with a slow increase in awareness some eventually might). Therefore if we recognise such measures not as a solution, but instead a stepping stone to more drastic and effective change, then good will surely come from it.
Buying a new car however (even if it is a Prius) is never the solution. It might appease your conscience (recent research has suggested that some of the UK’s biggest carbon footprints belong to people who also recycle most, take public transport and follow environmental news etc. The paradox arises because ‘good’ work in one area then acts as an excuse for ‘treats’ like long distance flights).
A Prius is a great way to appease these consciences, but the problem is that most Prius models still use petrol as one of their fuel types. However, unlike adopting greener driving habits, the purchase of a new car represents a token measure that underscores a significant future commitment to driving (which impedes the long term goal).
Making an effort is important, and reducing emissions will be a slow process for sure. The most important thing however is to be informed about the true effects of different measures, and not be fooled into thinking we are saving the planet by choosing Efficient Dynamics for example when really we’re just making BMW shareholders very happy indeed. If you do buy a BMW, do so because you like it, but not because you think it will avert environmental disaster…
The bottom line is that a Prius, efficient-dynamics equiped Beamer or any other fossil-fuel using car still contributes to the problem rather than helps solve it. Don’t let the advertising fool you into thinking otherwise.
This article is a follow up to a previous editorial (titled ‘As fuel prices soar motor manufacturers can adapt - or go bust‘).
That article outlined the pressures currently being exerted on motor manufacturers - by both the rise in fuel prices, and also changing consumer trends regarding pollution awareness and CO2 emissions. This article is a follow up, which will look at the range of moves now being introduced by major manufacturers as they attempt to survive in today’s demanding marketplace.
Recent developments in the US
‘The times they’re a-changin’, Bob Dylan once sang - and though he wasn’t talking about the US motor industry at the time, his words are highly relevant to it today. Even GM motors, a market leader in SUV and pick-up production, is now changing its tune. For years the company has profited massively from American drivers penchant for big vehicles, and the availability of cheap gas, but not for much longer…
Last week the company announced the closure of four major SUV and pick-up producing plants across the country. The company will now shift its focus to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars as an attempt to end a run of three years of consecutive losses (last year’s losses alone totaled over $38m).
Ford Motor Co. (another US manufacturer currently having facing serious losses), has also announced a move away from SUVs and pick-up models. Consumer trends have rendered the production of such models tantamount to financial suicide. Even GM’s previously indispensable cash cow, the Hummer, is being re-assessed (year-on-year profits are down massively when compared with 2007), with a sale of this business arm looking quite possible.
It is not that GM has suddenly become an environmentally-conscientious and ethical company; rather it is simply a case of being forced to change, or be swept aside by competition. The fact that consumer awareness and demand has brought about this change is a remarkably positive thing; it proves that when consumers ‘vote’ with their wallets, a much more effective change can be brought about than is possible with half-hearted, government-led attempts to impose regulations on powerful industries such as this one.
Europe and the rest of the world
In Europe, many leading (and financially unworried) manufacturers are also taking notice of the market incentives for improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. BMW for example has its high-profile Efficient Dynamics systems, which have allowed them to boast that 21 models of its current range produce 140g/km or less of CO2 emissions.
Many BMW models also feature Auto Start-Stop technology (standard on all 1 and 3 series models), which cuts power to the engine when the car is stationary (at lights, level crossings etc), thereby greatly increasing fuel efficiency, especially in town driving. Gear shift indicators help the driver to achieve maximum fuel efficiency, while electric power steering reduces fuel wastage by disengaging power steering when the car is not turning (for more info on BMW’s technologies click here).
These, and a host of other features ensure that BMW - a company not normally courted by environmentally concerned drivers - can nonetheless compete (to an extent) for these customers as well.
With Toyota recently reporting sales of its hybrid Prius model topping 1m, it seems pretty clear where the money is for motor manufacturers. European and East-Asian firms are well ahead in this field as it stands, with some truly impressive technology being introduced almost on a monthly basis. Reluctantly and begrudgingly, US companies are now accepting the realities of the death of the SUV and gas-guzzler as a profitable venture, and looking to compete with market leaders such as BMW and Toyota. There’s an awfully long way to go, but it is quite a nice change to see positive steps being taken, whatever the reasons behind them.