OPINION: The Big Question - Will the deal with Phoenix salvage BMW’s reputation in the UK

BMW received much negative publicity as it procrastinated over selling its loss-making Rover car arm to the Phoenix consortium or to venture capitalists Alchemy, before deciding on Phoenix.

BMW received much negative publicity as it procrastinated over

selling its loss-making Rover car arm to the Phoenix consortium or to

venture capitalists Alchemy, before deciding on Phoenix.





AL CLARKE



Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders



’BMW’s reputation as a prestige car maker is still untarnished with

strong UK orders - consider the lure of that key-ring on the office

desk. The motoring press are still fans - Autocar has just awarded the

new BMW 3 series diesel a rarely-seen five stars. However, BMW as a

German company selling a loss-making British subsidiary threatening UK

jobs, is a tabloid friendly story as the Government tries to defend its

reputation for creating an oppressive economic climate for UK

manufacturing industry. Every communicator should learn from this

situation. If your top communicator ain’t in the boardroom - you ain’t

got control.’





SEVE CARMAN



Hyundai Car (UK)



’I think BMW underestimated the effect that the sale of Rover would have

on the West Midlands. With employees and related suppliers mostly being

based in one geographical area, the move to sell off Rover was always

going to damage its brand image in the locality. The Phoenix deal is not

going to repair that damage in the short term and however many jobs are

lost, BMW’s image will be severely dented in the West Midlands. However,

I don’t think that setback will damage sales because the BMW brand is

very aspirational. I believe many people aspire to driving a BMW and

demand for their product will continue in the UK whatever happens

between Phoenix and Rover.’





ST. JOHN WHITE



Key Communications



’If handled with care, BMW could do a lot to rebuild its battered image

in the UK. While its corporate reputation has no doubt taken a hammering

in recent weeks, the tangible elements of its brand - communicated

through its vehicles - remain largely intact. But the BMW board is

supping the dregs at the last chance saloon in terms of its corporate

reputation and needs to tread a very careful path in the run-up to its

board meeting later this month. While it wants to appear decisive and in

control to its shareholders, fostering a spirit of openness and support

for the Phoenix bid would begin to build UK bridges. The big question

is: has BMW got the strength to say sorry? If not, the cold, adroit,

highly engineered brand might start looking poorly managed and poorly

spirited - neither positive attributes for aspirational products such as

cars.’





GILL MORRIS



Connect Public Affairs



’BMW’s reputation is just about in tatters. The way they have handled

the Longbridge announcement is nothing short of a PR disaster. Moreover,

the BMW storyline has gone from bad to worse . Of course, the Phoenix

bid is more popular with unions and Government, quite simply because it

aims to save more jobs. BMW needs to be seen to be a constructive

partner by the British public, working to achieve the best possible deal

for all concerned. This may present short-term losses but won’t it pay

dividends in the longer term? BMW must assume greater corporate

responsibility for its actions. If the Phoenix deal is good enough it

will provide some salvation to the West Midlands and might just stop

some BMW drivers wanting to sell their car.’



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