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      07-15-2020, 12:53 PM   #1
Yegor_Branko
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Exclamation Difference between quality of a BMW assembled in America and Germany?

Is the quality of a BMW assembled in Spartanburg, SC, USA different from the quality of one assembled in a German factory?
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      07-15-2020, 01:09 PM   #2
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In reality, no. Psychologically, yes.
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      07-15-2020, 01:16 PM   #3
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Of course there is a difference in quality. Even between Regensburg and Dingolfing Plant. Some colors can't be painted in Dingolfing because the paint booth is too old etc., just to give you an example.
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      07-15-2020, 03:41 PM   #4
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All of the plants under BMW AG are rated. BMW has the data with regards to what they consider is important and where each plant ranks.

Fortunately or unfortunately it can be difficult for the consumer to make a comparison because some plants only make certain models and the consumer doesn't know remaining life of the equipment inside each plant.

From my experience of owning BMW's almost all of their problems are the result of design/material choices rather than the quality of the labor.
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      07-16-2020, 06:37 AM   #5
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You can peruse reviews and complaints from X3/4/5/6 owners because those models are built in the US plant.
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      07-16-2020, 08:07 AM   #6
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I'd like to chime in as I have some personal experience with this subject. Just to validate my opinions I've owned and DIY'd BMWs for 32 years. I've been around BMWs since the late 1970s so my familiarity goes back to the E21. I've personally owned five (5) BMWs all 3-series, or variants of the 3-series. Of the five I've had, four (4) are still in the fleet. Three (3) of the five were built in Germany at the Dingolfing plant, the other two, the Z3 and Z4 were built in the Spartanburg, SC plant. As far as "quality" (i.e. fitness for use) every car in my fleet has been driven a minimum of 104,000 miles, one over 250,000 and one other over 350,000 miles. The cars I bought new were the '89 E30 (sold in 2006) and the still-owned Z3 and E90.

The quality level of four of my BMWs, three German and one USA built, were of better build quality than the E87 Z3. The Z3 was the second model of BMW built in the Spartanburg plant; the E36 was the first model built at Spartanburg. I've seen several other early build versions of the E36 from Spartanburg, which were even of worse build quality than my Z3. Research the subject on the first and second year build quality of the E36 and you'll discover the plastics (plastic parts) sourced for the Spartanburg plant were of poor quality. Now back in the 1980's, BMW had a reputation for poor plastic parts in general, but the E36/37 were constructed of exceptionally poor interior plastics. Other poor quality parts in BMWs of the 1980s and 1990s were the radios and speakers. The stereo equipment in BMWs of that era just didn't last very long. Any BMW of that era you buy used will have an aftermarket radio unit in it. Regardless of German or USA manufacture, the BMW drivetrain components are all BMW of Germany sourced and are as robust as one expects regardless of where the car was assembled.

So what is interesting with my experience is my Z3 and Z4. Both built in the Spartanburg plant 11 years apart from each other. The build quality of the E86 Z4 is of the highest level of any of the five BMWs I've owned. The build quality gap between the Z3 and Z4 is enormous. The Z3 sits now at 191,000 miles and the Z4 at 105,000. The Z3 has taken a lot of up keep, but is a fantastic car to drive, the Z4 has basically required routine maintenance. I've owned it just over 5 years now, since 23,000 miles when it was 8 years old. So the point is it took BMW a good amount of time to get the build quality at Spartanburg up to industry standards, but the early year cars really sucked in overall build quality. I can't speak to the X-series SUVs built there now, but I think most all of BMW's world-wide production for SUVs comes from Spartanburg, SC and the build quality is on par with the rest of BMWs models. Interesting, the 1st Gen X3 was built in Austria by Magna Steyr, which IIRC was BMW's first foray into "contract manufacturing" and entire vehicle. The 1st gen X3 was of lower build quality than German assembled BMW models. The second gen X3 production was moved to Spartanburg.

Last edited by Efthreeoh; 07-16-2020 at 08:41 AM..
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