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BMW named and shamed in a Chinese TV show. A Public Relationship Disaster



The German automaker was criticized during the annual Chinese show, exposing consumer complaints.

The BMW 530Li, designed for the Chinese market, has technical defects at the propeller shaft, something that is a real shame for a brand know for its theorical quality. Consumers complain of abnormal noises and a lack of solutions from BMW and dealers.

The problem raises concerns about safety and the car’s residual value as a used car. The show “315 Gala,” broadcast annually on World Consumer Rights Day, named BMW AG for technical defects in its BMW 530Li premium sedan.

The program, known for its denunciation of unfair business practices, criticized the German automaker for abnormal noises coming from the model’s propeller shaft. Consumers complained about a lack of satisfactory solutions from BMW and dealers, raising concerns about safety and potential depreciation in the car’s value.

BMW responded on its Weibo account, the equivalent of Twitter in China, saying it had conducted technical checks and was analyzing the problem to provide a “satisfactory response” to consumers. The company apologized for the inconvenience and assured that the problem does not affect driving safety, but all this is a real public relations nightmare and a real name-and-shame for the German car brand.

Although the 315 Gala is seen as a watchdog for consumer rights, it is also seen as an indicator of the Chinese government’s increasing control over companies.

Competition in the Chinese car market is intense, and BMW, like other foreign automakers, is losing market share to local manufacturers such as BYD Co.

Against the backdrop of the increasing use of social media by Chinese consumers to voice their grievances, the impact of 315 Gala has weakened in recent years. However, BMW’s appointment to the 315 Gala is a blow to the company’s image and could hurt its sales in China, a key market for the German giant. 

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