NASTF Information Requests

Tracking: 240 Status: Closed
State: NY Name: Jack
Category of Request: Security Information Manufacturer: BMW

Have you checked the OEM website?
Description of Repair unable to perform
BMW dealer's refuse to sell EWS immobilizer module and ignition keys.
Description of Information not available
Hello, I've experienced the same problem as another IATN member. When I read BMW's murky response from previous complains it does not make any sense at all. We are registered and licensed repair facility in business for over 20 years. We replace immobilizer modules and ignition keys for Audi, VW, Mercedes and all domestic vehicles. How can the same type of service for BMW vehicles jeopardize BMW customer's security? EWS modules and keys are VIN specific and none will be sold to anyone before the VIN, copy of registration and owner's ID is presented. (key must be "cut" and module programed according to VIN) I have customer's permission, all paperwork and still can't buy it. In addition there are no restrictions for the sale of engine control modules! Applying same logic engine controller should be "security item" as it shares information with EWS! I am not sure what is a real reason for refusing to sale EWS modules and keys. For BMW owners this is one more unnecessary hassle. Especially when their vehicle is already in repair shop. And this certainly is not a incentive for next BMW vehicle purchase.
Description of steps taken to obtain information (help/contact function on website, websites, etc.)
Other Comments or Concerns
I'd support any legal option to force BMW to release such "security" items to registered independent repair facilities.
Mary Hutchinson - 6/29/09
BMW personnel responded: Mr. Karczmarz: Thank you for your recent NASTF information request. The BMW Group supports the rights of owners to have the choice to decide where and how to have their BMW Group vehicles repaired and serviced. However, due to our commitment to safeguard the security of our owners’ vehicles we are unable to provide the parts you have requested. This is our policy worldwide and is a focused restriction we believe is very necessary for the safety and security of our owners and their personal property. In the past, premium vehicles, such as our vehicles, were special targets of thieves and led to elevated theft rates. This cost our owners significantly higher insurance rates, countless hours of aggravation, loss of personal property, including personal identifying data left in vehicles, and fear for their safety if a thief would visit their home. As a result, BMW vehicle owners were negatively affected and our company’s reputation was damaged. We believe sales were lost. You may be familiar with the derogatory phrase "BMW means Break My Window" and can imagine our interest in changing that perception. To address BMW vehicle thefts and damage to our reputation, our company invested enormous resources into designing and equipping our cars with the most state-of-the-art anti-theft technology. Double locks, stronger glass, high tech keys, electronic immobilizers, enhanced data security, mechanism shields, and other countermeasures were implemented. The result is that today thefts of BMW Group vehicles have dropped dramatically worldwide, and our owners have tremendously benefited. We are convinced that our countermeasures, coupled with our security practices, have played a major role in reducing thefts. The EWS and CAS control modules on BMW vehicles are an integral component of the vehicle security system and have been a key tool in reducing the theft of BMW vehicles since 1995. In fact, BMW vehicles are among the most difficult to steal, and we are confident that our customers and our customers' insurers appreciate that fact. No independent or dealer in the world is able to encode a EWS or CAS control module or a key. The BMW Group encodes all EWS and CAS control modules and keys. This is a secure process in an age of electronic hackers and global theft rings. However, the sale of the encoded EWS and CAS control modules to independents for installation on vehicles outside of authorized dealerships would not provide security for our customers and their vehicles. These are among the reasons that we cannot provide you with a favorable response. I trust you will understand our need to safeguard this information in the interest of our owners’ security. Access to information for repairs is an important issue. We would be happy to work with you on how we can better support organizations like yours with non-theft relevant components and service. Vehicle Security Team BMW of North America, LLC (on behalf of the BMW Group)