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From digest.v7.n1772 Tue May 26 12:01:22 1998
From: Phil Marx <>
Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 11:59:38 -0500
Subject: re: Thick Paint / New Cars

Duane Collie wrote:
>There is damage on the cars in transit from Germany to North America.

>Estimates are that 15% of the new BMW's sold have had some paint repair
>work at POE.

>BMWNA has a set of disclosure standards whereby if the repair exceeds a
>pre-determined cost of then the car in no longer sold as brand new. Don't
>hold me to this, but I recall it being in the realm of $ 3,500.00, might be
>more. Phil Marx probably knows the exact figure. If the damage exceeds the
>threshold, then the car goes to "Drive for the Cure", Car Shows, or
>auctioned to the dealers as a special buy with minimal mileage on them as
>Corporate Driven cars, etc.
>Under that threshold which is determined by BMWNA Corporate Policy, not the
>government, and the car is sold as new. This is not necessarily a bad
>thing, but you don't want THREE layers of paint on it (as I had with my
>'new' '95 M3) due to the thickness factor.

>Freaks out the salespeople when you pull out a paint depth gauge at the
>Dealership (ANY dealership) and start telling them how many paint jobs a
>car has had. Also, that tool finds bondo areas on used cars. Worth the $
>60 if buy a lot of cars.

That's mostly correct. Actually BMW does not set any "Threshold". There is a legal definition of what constitutes a "new car" and formula, whether it varies by state of not, I can't tell you, but it's not really important on a BMW. BMWNA made the decision after the initiation of "The Law Suite" that they would fully disclose all damage on their cars. If you ask for or can get access to the DCS History report on your car any damage disclosed by BMW will be a permanent part of that record. I have seen cars listing "repainted hood for 1" long scratch". As for the 15% figure, in the years since BMW started full disclosure during which I was employed at a BMW dealer (they weren't called "retailers" then) we had only one car with a disclosure and that was a new model drive-away which came across as a Tourist delivery car from the E38 model intro in Europe. The disclosure was a repainted r/r quarter from a less than 1" scratch. Could have been damage inflicted by the Store Owner filling it up with gas while joyriding around Europe. I have pulled reports on used cars that I have bought and found minor disclosures as well. In every case these were factory "brass hat" cars or something other than regular ordered inventory. The BMW quarterly company car auctions in Atlanta have a 10+ page disclosure list which accompanies those company driven cars, some damage is quite extensive, but all is disclosed. I even bought the first 740 that BMW had the now infamous engine problem with, and the the disclosure included the buy-back status based on the engine repair as well as subsequent damage which happened in transit back to BMW.

If you're buying a new car, it's very unlikely that BMW NA has repaired it. It is possible that repaint has been done in Germany as part of a QC process and that won't make the vehicles NA record as it would be part of the manufacturing process. However, demos, company executive or "Program" cars are good suspects for transportation damage and POE repair. That damage can and does occur on a new car can often be blamed on a dealer and their handling while in their possession. In any case it is up to the dealer to disclose any known damage to you. BMWNa puts the obligation on them, in some cases this includes a disclosure document which has a place for a customer's signature. Asing for the DCS Vehicle History report is not out of line. The printout won't show vehicle cost or anything incriminating. It will show the option string, manufacturing date, color, etc, along with the dealer number to whom the car was initially wholesaled and that date. It may also be possible that in the case of Duane's car, BMW may have been certain that they didn't repaint it but chose to bite the bullet rather than air dirty dealer linen for the customer to see. Rest assured they figured out what happened.

My first sold '95 M3 in Dakar (not including the demo they shoved down our throats) came in with a paint drip under the rear Roundel and lots of yellow dust in the trunk seal drain area. Obviously a buffed job, and I assumed a repaint. No BMWNA repair record existed and we disclosed our suspicions to the customer anyway. BMW said repaint it and they'd pay. The customer agreed with us that whatever had been done was probably preferable to what we'd be able to get done locally and he's been happy with it the way it was for years.

This being said, the Mar-Hyde Paint Measuring Gauge #1099 as demonstrated at the recent ///M Gathering outside DC, can be had for $25 if you shop it around. Or you can buy the same one for $55 most anywhere. Personally, if you're looking at new BMW cars, I'd save the money for gas and get to know your dealer. If your business is like mine and you look at hundreds of used BMWs a month, in rain and bright sun, the gauge can be a valuable tool.

  • -Phil Marx BMWCCA #6021
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