As a BMW owner, history will look back upon the years 1968-2002 as perhaps the best time to own and maintain the “Ultimate Driving Machine”.
While new models roll out each year, each more slick and refined than the previous version, the new BMW car we have come to love and enjoy has become more an appliance in terms of safety, high performance and in some ways expensive geeky features than about driving.
In an effort to push the envelope farther and farther, the auto industry as a whole each year prides itself in one-up-man-ship. Each trying to outdo the other for some advantage to get you buy their product for something other than personal transportation.
For me, this problem is all too well known. My own parents, who’s new 2007 Dodge Avenger R/T for example came complete with glove box which prostitutes the A/C system in some way to keep cold and hidden 4 cans of soda. It was one of the main reasons they bought the car other than looks and leather interior.
BMW as a car company was once run totally by engineers. The 30+ year old cars which are the primary audience of this website were built at a time within BMW that cars were built to keep engineers happy. Sadly, like many car companies today, BMW is run by accountants.
Case in point is our old friend BMW Mobile Tradition. Prices for parts are escalating into the stratosphere for two reasons: the low value of the Dollar against the Euro, and the accountants within BMW raising the bar on Mobile Tradition to show a profit for the warehouses full of spare parts for older vehicles. In order to satisfy that need to balance between profitability and keeping up with the industry, some things have to be more profitable to stay around. BMW Mobile Tradition is under the microscope and is scrambling in some ways to maintain or be profitable.
While this may be part of BMW’s strategy, that sends a new shot across the bow. In a sense that high cost ownership/restoration factor creates a perception that the marketplace for owning and maintain these cars is a few notches above most people’s pay grade. Owners who are current owners as well as prospective owners. My assumption is that people would then pass on one of these cars and let them rot or be crushed, rather than maintain the large majority of them…
A new marketplace could begin that most people would shudder to think of. Reproduction parts.
For many years, there has been a robust market for other European car makes, especially in the British areas and older VW Beetles. They have good business for reproduction parts for cars of this vintage. They are from the same era as our 2002s.
While BMW’s costs for most parts has been reasonable enough that you would buy the OEM part rather than hunt for something else. Those days are almost over. Here’s why.
While rapidly consumed parts such as belts, hoses and spark plugs remain fairly stable, the belt line trim for a 2002 has escalated from $250 in 2002 to over $800 now for the same parts, not counting the expensive shipping. New Bosch Tii Fuel injectors are over $800 each. Throttle bodies are more than $1,300.
Let’s compare this to how the VW Beetle aftermarket pricing compares for reproduction parts. A great web site to compare to a 2002 for Beetles is Wolfsburg West. In contrast I will compare Maximillian Importing’s Bimmer.com prices who are very fair and direct source to BMW Mobile Tradition OEM parts.
1973 VW Beetle Fenders (left+right) $ 220.00
1973 BMW 2002 Fenders (left+right) $ 637.50
BMW price difference $ 417.50
1973 VW Beetle Rear Bumper (complete)$ 150.00
1973 BMW 2002 Rear Bumper (w/rubber) $ 931.71
(2 over riders are NLA but est.) $ 150.00
Total For complete bumper $ 1,081.00
BMW price difference $ 931.00
Few would argue a 2002 compares to a Beetle, but the enthusiasm for the cars is nearly the same around the world if not more just due to sheer numbers of cars produced. Why would you pay such a price difference for a 2002? Is the cult car really worth that much more? And if you think this is high, have a gander at what CS Coupe parts cost now…
It stands to reason the market is ripe for reproduction parts for 2002s that are close if not better made than some of the recreated parts BMW Mobile Tradition is selling. One last point to make – is a set of new visors for a 2002 worth $216.00 for the pair when Wolfsburg West’s parts are just under thirty bucks and the design is nearly the same?
See for yourself:
The marketplace for a wide variety of repro parts is already there. It’s a business decision somebody will make someday soon. When they do, there will be a lot more 2002s and 1600s still running great and safely for years to come when all we have to afford is gas at $7 a gallon (ouch).
Last update: 2007-12-01 12:07
Author: Keith Kreeger