Originally Posted by JohnMan
This is a list of what businesspeople and analysts think, not necessarily the same as what the end-user think, us the drivers. Of course, conventional wisdom suggest that since BMW relies on it's superior products to sell and maintain it's reputation, then what the customer and business analysts think should be the same. That point is debatable, but if you look at it from a profitability or return on investment angle, then BMW absolutely delivers.
However, from the customer angle, contrary to conventional wisdom, does BMW still deserve that high mark? It's a question of what is important to the driver (i.e performance and handling and overal driveability) vs the business folks, and there is a big divergence there in reality. Customers complain of unreliable and complicated electronics? Poor service from Bimmer dealers? That's because the demand is so high for bimmers that dealers can afford to slack off in customer service. Of course, at some point, this attitude will bite them in the ass, but we haven't reach that point yet...
BMW also enjoys the unique position of being one of the very few large companies that is privately held by long term share holders. They can thus implement strategies for the next 10-20 years even if current valuations take a hit. Freedom from speculation and share price anxiety is also a huge plus in the business world.