Public Relations

Buffalo BMW protest

Southern Metropolis Daily
July 16, 2008

July 16's Southern Metropolis Daily reported on a woman in Guangzhou who hitched her BMW to a water buffalo and led the beast around downtown to protest the car company's refusal to replace her defective car.

This rather unusual protest technique has been tried before. Last October, Mr.Zhao from Hefei, Anhui staged a similar show after BMW denied his repeated request to replace or refund his defective BMW X5. He posted a statement of intent and photos of his protest on a online forum. Below is a translation of his post:

I bought this X5 BMW in 2004. The car cost me almost one million yuan. Because I trusted the BMW brand, I bought the car thinking it would bring convenience to my commute. Instead, it has caused numerous problems over the last three years. The problems have included ignition failure, brake failure, loss of power and loss of directional control of vehicle while driving. These problems have often posted a serious threat to my safety.

These problems have existed since the day I bought the car. I have spent a lot of time and money repairing the car; the car has been repaired in Wenzhou, Nanjing, and Hefei. But each time, the same problem would reappear within a week. I complained to BMW, asking them to justify these repeated problems, and demanded they issue an explanation to affected customers. But my efforts have had no result.

Therefore, in light of BMW's extreme irresponsibility, I make a formal statement here: I demand a new car or a full refund.

If BMW continues to ignore my requests and refuses to explain themselves, I will call for the public and the media to expose BWM's behavior and protect my rights as a consumer. I will take following steps since no alternatives exist:

Mr.Zhao's protest in action
Step one: Buffalo pulling BMW
This stage will last one week. I will use the slogan "BMW is irresponsible to customers, protest against BMW's poor quality products". The media (all major newspapers, websites, Phoenix TV , Dagongpao) will be invited to report on the event. I have strong faith in the fairness, justice and trustworthiness of the media. If BMW still doesn't respond, this activity will be continued for another week with more intense coverage from the media.

Step two: Smashing the car
If the BMW company still doesn't respond, I will smash the car. The media will report the car smashing in real time to the whole country, the whole of Asia, and the whole world. At this point, I will no longer accept compensation from BMW; I will consider my loss of property the price I paid to keep other potential customers from being fooled as I was fooled.
I call for the consumers of the whole world to protest together: Refuse to buy BMW! Refuse to let BMW enter our countries! BWM is untrustworthy! BMW service is bad!

Mr. Zhao did indeed carry out his threat to hitch his BMW to bulls and pull it around town, but we could find no pictures of him carrying out the second stage of his plan.

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There are currently 10 Comments for Buffalo BMW protest.

Comments on Buffalo BMW protest

gotta say, sounds like a pretty effective plan... wouldn't surprise me if the dude got his million kuai back

WHAT? Poor thing.

This woman needs to pull her own damn BMW around town.

Perhaps he should also email these photos to BMW's headquarter in Germany.

Unfortunately, I think that with the second stage of the plan announced as "at that point I will not accept any compensation by BMW" it seems much more likely to me that BMW would just have sat still - as Mr. Zhao says they had been doing before - and wait until the media attention blew over, rather than pay up. In corporate thinking, one unhappy customer who smashes his car would be weighed against a lot of other customers who still buy BMW cars - and who the company would be afraid of encouraging to demand their money back, too.

Not fair maybe, but in my opinion more likely.

China needs a "Lemon Law" similar to those in effect in various iterations in the U.S. to protect consumers.

That said, was Mr Zhao's X-5 really a BMW or one of those SCEOs I see on the streets mocked up to look like BMW X-5s??? ;^)

Unlikely that any multinational company would allow such bad publicity in their biggest market for the cost of one car, unless they really had a good reason to.

""at that point I will not accept any compensation by BMW" it seems much more likely to me that BMW would just have sat still "

I've seen this kind of tactic before.

A Mrs Wang from Xian was so unhappy that her Chang'an Star had to be repaired more than 50 times in one year she paraded the vehicle through the streets pulled behind a donkey.


It is common in china to have competitors sponsor "shows" of this kind.

What about the poor buffalo?

This sort of behaviour is not uncommon in China and the media is biased and will print virtually anything it wants on behalf of the vehicle owner (probably through "back-handers" off the owner) without checking out the other half of the story.There seems to be no perception of what the warranty is there for and will demand 5/10 year warranty extensions,5 years free servicing,compensation or a complete vehicle replacement,etc.,sometimes for the most insignificant of issues.This is the proverbial land of thick skin and hard-faces.

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