February 6, 2001
Ms. Janis Tisor, Head of Customer Relations
Dear Ms. Tisor:
I last communicated with the BMW Customer Relations office in mid-1999, with Ms. Dottie Leavitt, who at that time held the position you now hold. I wrote to Ms. Leavitt because I was unhappy with the repair and maintenance requirements of my 1989 750iL. I still am unhappy with my 750 and am hoping you can do something more than Ms. Leavitt, which shouldn't be difficult, as she offered me nothing.
Ms. Leavitt's position, in her very brief reply, was since my car was out of the warranty period that BMW couldn't help me. I fail to see where the absence of a warranty should provide an excuse for what appears to be known design defects in a car. Nearly every BMW employee I've spoken to about the problems I've been experiencing, be it a mechanic, sales person, or service advisor, has told me the same thing: 1989 (and 1988) was a terrible year for the 750 and they're known to be extremely problematic. I was told recently, "I wouldn't touch a 1989 750iL with a 10 foot pole." I only wish I had found out this information before buying one.
It's been about 18 months since my first letter regarding this 750, which I still drive and have been maintaining with great effort and at an enormous expense, and I am still amazed with both the frequency of repair and expense required in maintaining it. At that juncture 18 months ago, I chose not to litigate, but rather to make the repairs necessary, with the foolish expectation that they would be the last major repairs; unfortunately, they were far from it- I have since spent more than $12,000.
The ubiquitous "Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan has not rang true for me. I've been experiencing the ultimate in driving machine disasters. While the 750iL is an outstanding car to drive when it's working, the period of time the car can stay in a state of good repair is fleeting at best, if it's ever happened at all. Over the past 4 years, I have spent nearly $23,000 on repairs for the car, having brought it in 45 times or more for service, several times by tow truck. The car has been in the shop an estimated 116 days. I've had to drop-off and pick-up the car an astonishing 80 times. Would you call this the "Ultimate Driving Machine?" I wouldn't think so. The repair demands have been staggering, both in their cost and frequency, but I'll let you be the judge.
For our convenience, I have posted some information on the Internet at http://my750.com. On this website, you can refer to our communication and the repair and maintenance record of my 1989 750iL. Please note that any communication between us will be posted on this website. If you and I are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, I will continue my pursuit, and you will become an early stop, but far from the last. Subsequent communication between myself and any individuals, companies, agencies, and media will also be posted on http://my750.com, so check back if you would like an update. I may also be sharing stories among other 750iL owners, who might have had similar experiences. Whenever a conclusion is reached, whether in seven weeks or seven years from now, the trail will lead straight back to you, so I hope you take the time to give this matter serious consideration before responding.
A fair question to ask is, "Why did you put so much money into this car?" The answer is that I kept hoping with each repair that the car would finally stabilize, thinking that no car could possibly need so much work, but it continues to have huge demands. Similar to how someone might be caught in a bad relationship, I had faith and was optimistic, thinking things would change, but I have finally come to realize they never will with this car. The car is a lemon, plain and simple, and it has to go.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, the front windshield molding flew out . I imagine I narrowly escaped having the two front windows broken when the sharp-edged ends whipped around and struck the passenger and driver windows hard. Rather embarrassing, not to mention extremely dangerous, startling both my passenger and myself. This occurred after having picked up the car the day before from [the dealership], when I had specifically asked them to look the car over and prepare it for a high-speed road trip. Cost to repair the molding- about $1,200. Combine the molding incident with my learning recently of another $5,000 of maintenance needed, and it's time to junk the car. Incredibly, a car costing nearly $80,000 about 12 years later is worthless, with the maintenance needs apparently exceeding the value of the car. As I cannot in good conscience sell this car to anyone, I am troubled as to what to do with it.
The reason I am contacting you today is that it is now definitely time for me to get another car. My hope is that you will take into consideration the tremendous difficulties I've had with my 750, and make some kind of concession or offer to me, as a courtesy to a long-time and loyal BMW owner, before it becomes necessary to escalate this matter to an entirely new level.
The car I have my eye on is a Certified, Pre-Owned, 1998, 740iL (I give up on the 750iL), one owner, lease return, maintained at a single dealership, with fewer than 50,000 miles on it, so it will qualify for a four year extended warranty, black exterior and black interior.
Can you do anything for me?