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      09-01-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
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Famous automaker about faces

about-face

http://www.answers.com/topic/about-face



American Heritage Dictionary: a·bout-face

[list][*]
  1. The act of pivoting to face in the opposite direction from the original, especially in a military formation.
  2. A military command to turn clockwise 180°.
  3. A total change of attitude or viewpoint.

So BMW has long touted the naturally aspirated inline six and RWD as being the ingredients to The Ultimate Driving Machine. Now they are getting rid of it in favour of turbo 4's and FWD (Expression of Joy??)! This could be considered an about face on their part.

So I thought I'd ask my fellow 1addicts to contribute to this thread and list famous about faces or change in directions from engineering philosophy on the part of car makers. Historical anecdotes, future predictions (both serious and for laughs), etc are all welcome.

So I'll start it off with...

What's next, Subaru to stop engineering cars with AWD?

Porsche to stop using rear mounted engines?

Last edited by Lucky1; 09-01-2011 at 08:31 AM. Reason: Formatting change; content remains the same
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      09-01-2011, 08:33 AM   #2
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VW decides to go after people who shop at Walmart.
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Being a fan of Honda engines, I requested that they consider building for the F1 a 4.5 liter V10 or V12. I asked, I tried to persuade them, but in the end could not convince them to do it, and the McLaren F1 ended up with a BMW engine.
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      09-01-2011, 03:47 PM   #3
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Um, it's always been about being profitable first. These are all profit making companies with share holders and investors wanting a return. There's no 'about face' going on with accumulating capital, which in reality is the number one 'philosophy.'

In order to be profitable you need to shift with the times; the current demands, the current economies. I'm sure there were plenty of people complaining about BMW shifting their 'philosophy' to the evolving economy car trend in 1959. They were in deep financial do-do and so they bought the rights to build the tiny Isetta as a cheap econo car. Getting into the economy car boom of that period saved their butts.

If they built cars to satisfy your needs only, there wouldn't be any BMWs available under $100k. And they'd be a small niche company. Instead, BMW chooses to adapt to change and to remain a large automobile manufacturer with a wide variety of products (and which can help subsidize specialty products like the M division cars.)

It's called a paradigm shift. Look that up in your dictionary.
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      09-01-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickypaws View Post
Um, it's always been about being profitable first. These are all profit making companies with share holders and investors wanting a return. There's no 'about face' going on with accumulating capital, which in reality is the number one 'philosophy.'

In order to be profitable you need to shift with the times; the current demands, the current economies. I'm sure there were plenty of people complaining about BMW shifting their 'philosophy' to the evolving economy car trend in 1959. They were in deep financial do-do and so they bought the rights to build the tiny Isetta as a cheap econo car. Getting into the economy car boom of that period saved their butts.

If they built cars to satisfy your needs only, there wouldn't be any BMWs available under $100k. And they'd be a small niche company. Instead, BMW chooses to adapt to change and to remain a large automobile manufacturer with a wide variety of products (and which can help subsidize specialty products like the M division cars.)

It's called a paradigm shift. Look that up in your dictionary.
I agree with your argument as it pertains to corporate strategy but if you push an engineering model as being superior and suddenly drop it that could be considered a reversal on your original position whether or not it made financial sense or determined the survivability of the company. That's what I'm focusing on here.

Either way I'm just trying to get a fun discussion going, not trying to argue whether BMW's position is justified. They've gone from being a company that made its bread and butter out of pushing and selling RWD + I6. If it helps imagine they will stop making RWD + I6 altogether and just contribute to this thread.
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      09-01-2011, 04:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
I agree with your argument as it pertains to corporate strategy but if you push an engineering model as being superior and suddenly drop it that could be considered a reversal on your original position whether or not it made financial sense or determined the survivability of the company. That's what I'm focusing on here.

Either way I'm just trying to get a fun discussion going, not trying to argue whether BMW's position is justified. They've gone from being a company that made its bread and butter out of pushing and selling RWD + I6. If it helps imagine they will stop making RWD + I6 altogether and just contribute to this thread.
Yes, one can lose credibility when they espouse that one idea is superior for a long time, and then switch to the opposite. BMW obviously will lose credibility with the people that actually believed RWD or I6 was better and went and bought a car based on that line of advertising. BMWs market research must have thought that they could make more money even if they lost some of that credibility with those original folks. Shrugs.
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      09-01-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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Wait, what am I missing? What car is going to be fwd?
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      09-01-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
I agree with your argument as it pertains to corporate strategy but if you push an engineering model as being superior and suddenly drop it that could be considered a reversal on your original position whether or not it made financial sense or determined the survivability of the company. That's what I'm focusing on here.

Either way I'm just trying to get a fun discussion going, not trying to argue whether BMW's position is justified. They've gone from being a company that made its bread and butter out of pushing and selling RWD + I6. If it helps imagine they will stop making RWD + I6 altogether and just contribute to this thread.
I guess I just look at the world more from a historiographical stand point. This is nothing new. It's happened before and will happen again. It's shifting paradigms (I guess I'm just a Kuhnian ) So, I don't see any big deal in the long run. We all believed in things at one point in our lives, only to change those beliefs. And not because the belief was "wrong" but only because the new belief suited our current needs. And as those needs change, our beliefs will change again.

The modern Audi (Audi AG, not talking about the Auto Union era) was brought into the market with the 'Audi Quattro' as its identifier. Yet it soon started building FWDs. Who knows, maybe it'll make a RWD model if circumstances dictate. After all, Mercedes, the brand that promoted the luxury comfort car as their hallmark, now builds little econo-boxes. No doubt that W221 S600 owners feel a bit slighted when they see the three pointed star logo on a cheap little FWD W186 A-Class mini MPV.
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      09-01-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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Maybe Honda will stop making high-revving, small displacement four bangers in their "performance cars". Oh wait, I guess they have.

Guess the world's coming to an end.
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      09-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #9
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Maybe Nissan will stop producing the VQ engine and replace it with a rotary.
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      09-01-2011, 06:42 PM   #10
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Maybe Volvo will make an unsafe car.
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      09-01-2011, 06:43 PM   #11
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Maybe Chevy will make a Camaro that actually transforms (man was I disappointed when I went to the dealership after I saw that movie)
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      09-02-2011, 12:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
So BMW has long touted the naturally aspirated inline six and RWD as being the ingredients to The Ultimate Driving Machine.
Just curious, where were you when they started offering AWD in their models?

And were the M70, M73, and N73 motors (starting in the mid-1980s) not part of their Ultimate Driving Machine recipe? Not to mention the V8s and V10s.

fwiw, I've also owned a 2002tii. It was a 4 cylinder just as were the 1500, 1600, 1800 and the regular (non-fuel injection) 2002.

It was the 2002 that put BMW on the map as the world's greatest sports sedan, aka the ultimate driving machine. The M10 was a milestone motor. But hey, times change and later they went to an IL 6 that they had developed in 1968. And later it was replaced by the M60 V8.

btw, "Ultimate Driving Machine" is simply an effective CVP (customer value proposition) and means one thing to a 3 series owner and another thing to a 750iL owner. Either as sporty or as luxurious, depending on model. And for the econo-minded owner, a new 4 cylinder turbo charged motor might mean "ultimate" fuel efficiency with boost.
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      09-03-2011, 06:43 AM   #13
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      09-05-2011, 06:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky1 View Post
Either way I'm just trying to get a fun discussion going, not trying to argue whether BMW's position is justified. They've gone from being a company that made its bread and butter out of pushing and selling RWD + I6. If it helps imagine they will stop making RWD + I6 altogether and just contribute to this thread.
BMW have always sold more 4's than 6's, it's only in the US where they have really concentrated on selling 6's.
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      09-05-2011, 06:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stickypaws View Post
The modern Audi (Audi AG, not talking about the Auto Union era) was brought into the market with the 'Audi Quattro' as its identifier. Yet it soon started building FWDs.
Audi were making FWD cars long before they built the quattro. The UR quattro was built on the Volkwagon Group B2 platform which was FWD, the Typ 81 Audi 80 & 90 came out before the quattro, the quattro was a version of the Coupe, which was basically an Audi 80 with a fastback. So no about face here at all.
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      09-05-2011, 08:29 AM   #16
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One aspect is worth mentioning: BMW is one of few car brands not eaten by any of the big ones. They would not have managed this without searching growth and larger production figures. Remember they unwillingly almost became a part of Daimler-Benz in the 60's, but were rescued by the Quandt family and a stubborn and visionary management.

BMW deserves credit for being (relatively) true to their philosophy of building sporty cars. Sad as it is, to stay in business and being competitive takes scaling down engine displacement like all other manufacturers do. (Allthough this hardly solves the climate crisis......)

The new engine generations are a lot more sopisticated then their predecessors, and as long as power and torque increase together with lower consumption and emissions I guess it's just a matter of thinking new.

Main thing is that the Munich guys are still leaders in engine technology and never stop providing the cars with more power and joy.

FWD? The small 1-series is one thing. But 3-series is a core product and they will never provide 3-, 5-, 6- and 7-series with that. Sporty RWD cars is the soul of BMW. It is unthinkable messing with that.
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      09-05-2011, 09:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superspeed View Post
One aspect is worth mentioning: BMW is one of few car brands not eaten by any of the big ones. They would not have managed this without searching growth and larger production figures. Remember they unwillingly almost became a part of Daimler-Benz in the 60's, but were rescued by the Quandt family and a stubborn and visionary management.

BMW deserves credit for being (relatively) true to their philosophy of building sporty cars. Sad as it is, to stay in business and being competitive takes scaling down engine displacement like all other manufacturers do. (Allthough this hardly solves the climate crisis......)

The new engine generations are a lot more sopisticated then their predecessors, and as long as power and torque increase together with lower consumption and emissions I guess it's just a matter of thinking new.

Main thing is that the Munich guys are still leaders in engine technology and never stop providing the cars with more power and joy. and more weight

FWD? The small 1-series is one thing. But 3-series is a core product and they will never provide 3-, 5-, 6- and 7-series with that. Sporty RWD cars is the soul of BMW. It is unthinkable messing with that.
Agreed.
But the first sentence in bold: BMW AG itself is the biggest luxury carmaker in the world for a few years now.

Second one:
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      09-05-2011, 04:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyV View Post
Audi were making FWD cars long before they built the quattro. The UR quattro was built on the Volkwagon Group B2 platform which was FWD, the Typ 81 Audi 80 & 90 came out before the quattro, the quattro was a version of the Coupe, which was basically an Audi 80 with a fastback. So no about face here at all.
That's why I was specific about saying 'Audi AG.' By 1985 the Auto Union and NSU brands were dead, and the company's official name was Audi AG.

And the Quattro was its (Audi AG) identifying vehicle esp here in the USA at that time.

"The performance car, introduced in 1980, was named the "Audi Quattro", a turbocharged coupe which was also the first German large-scale production vehicle to feature permanent all-wheel drive through a center differential."

After its intro as a Quattro in the USA, they started later with exporting FWD. I should have clarified about "intro" as an AWD and the FWDs coming later. And you're right about them building FWD previously (before the Quattro in 1985.) Not exactly an 'about face' but simply building both but when the AWD was the primary identifying trademark. BMW has the IL6 and RWD as its identifying trademark, but we know it doesn't mean they didn't build AWD or 4, 10, and 12 cylinder motors.
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      09-05-2011, 04:44 PM   #19
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Subaru taking a scion, rebadging it, putting a naturally aspirated engine with a rwd drivetrain and calling it sporty.

Why would you buy a rwd subaru. WHY!? SUBARU ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME!? TOYOTA WILL SELL THE RWD VERSION. GIVE US A BOOSTED AWD FT86 OR ELSE!
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      09-05-2011, 05:11 PM   #20
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It's no mistake that this roughly coincides with the Obama administration pressuring the industry and Congress to raise MPG standards. At the end of July a new agreement was signed with 13 makers (including BMW) to raise the fleet average to 54.5 mpg by 2025. That's a target BMW thinks it can hit within 13 years and change. Note that it's probably doing something like half that number in the US right now. Given Americans' enmity towards diesels, the future of 6-cyl engines isn't too hard to forecast.

But it's also irrelevant -- we don't need sixes anymore. Direct injection, improved turbos and electronic controls have changed the landscape. My last car had almost as much horsepower as my 135i, but with only a 2.0-liter turbo 4 with direct injection, and it was made by *General Motors*. And it got over 31 mpg on the highway.
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