Alex Magliozzi's "tale of woe and intrigue" waiting for parts

Alex reached out to us last week to share this article. Who else has been impacted by pandemic-related delays? Pandemic Hits Supply Chain, Costing a BMW Customer Dearly

What article ? Who is Alex ? Supply chains and delays are not new and it will take time to solve.

Is electricity considered a part? My electricity was delayed due to the hurricane,


Alex is the guy who was behind the wheel when Tommy’s beloved Dart was totaled IIRC, he’s also Tommy’s son.

Hi - the link was updated and Alex is Tom Magliozzi’s son.

No Issue lately but…

I had a devil of a time getting brake rotors for my '04 truck and my '13 Mustang. And then wheels for my Mustang. This was about 8 months ago. Much of those are made in China so i suspect there were supplies sitting in a boat off the California coast waiting for entry. I did manage to find parts after about an 8 week search-and-order run-around.

But these were on cars I owned outright, not leased… so my frustration level was reasonable.

My regular mechanic has been complaining for 2 years now that he can’t get parts. He had trouble getting basic motor oil for a while. In fact, he’s been turning away new customers because he’s having trouble handling the current customers he’s already got.

No used parts around?

Sorry Alex is having this difficulty. I expect the leasing company’s position is the problem isn’t their fault, and according to the leasing contract language, problems that are not their fault are the responsibility of the person who takes on the lease. It’s Alex’s problem in other words. It seems like a sort of better common-sense accommodation for Alex, he being a paying customer, would be offered though.

This all definitely seems unfair to Alex. But the pandemic has caused a lot of car-related unfairness; so who’s to say who’s unfairness is the worse? Take my case for example. I’ve been unable to drive my Corolla on the roads of California for the past 3 years b/c of a pandemic-related issue. So far not a single politician has stepped up to the plate and offered up a common-sense solution, when reasonable-accommodating solutions are pretty obvious.

But that’s by your own choice.


True, but in the same manner of logic, Alex’s problem is by his choice. He could simply buy another new BMW.

But he would still have the lease agreement .


What about the $750 monthly lease he’s been paying on the current one ?

He has to finish his lease contract.

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Or sitting on the dock in China waiting to load onto a container ship because the city was shut down. The Chinese government was much harsher with their citizens during Covid shutdowns.

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I’ll leave it up to the resident lawyer to argue but seems to me this is a breach of contract, or so I would decide. You don’t lease what is supposed to be a car and they give you a washing machine instead to be extreme. But a washing machine might be more useful. Reminded me of another case my peers and I decided for the plaintive and the judge agreed with our reasoning. Someone has not delivered what they promised.

I personally have not had a problem but I started expanding my inventory of filters and oil when I first heard of problems. Of course I have expanded inventory of other items too and am full up except for food. I have not had a problem ordering either but I make sure it is not out of stock.

No dispute, that’s part of the unfairness. Alex’s problem isn’t the same as mine, so comparing them is difficult. But they are both Covid-related car owner problems, which make for an interesting comparative discussion on a car forum like this. I continue to have car expenses for a car I can’t use too of course, but not nearly $750/month. I doubt Alex thinks my 30 year old Corolla being banned from the roads of a San Francisco back-water town is even an issue compared to his new-ish BMW being effectively banned from the roads of the greatest city in the world.

George, I’m thinking you should just drive it. If you get stopped go to court and wear your mask explaining your fear. Likely the judge will also be wearing one. Maybe you’ll get a break. The judges around here are scared to death of the virus.

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Well, that’s an idea … lol … police here wouldn’t usually stop a car w/expired registration during peak pandemic, but I don’t think they allow that now. My neighbor had same problem, continued to drive for a year during the peak risk of spread, never stopped by police even though expired registration. A friend in another city also had this same problem, she sneaked out & drove her expired registration car late at night if she had to buy groceries. Both those cars are OBD II, less testing risk , and eventually got emissions tested as Covid risk declined, and now have current registrations.

Most City councils in area still refuse to hold public hearings, only by Zoom. City officials apparently still fear Covid risks. DMV officials, fearing their staff would contract Covid, refused to provide in-car driving tests during peak pandemic; not sure if they’ve lifted that yet.

Not really a burden for me to keep Corolla off road. I just drive truck. Concerned about climate and loss of business for my local vendors, but this doesn’t seem to bother politicos, so can’t do much about that. Eventually it will resolve itself, truck doing the job well for now.

Upcoming election will give me a chance to let politicos know my thinking on this issue … lol …

It seems like a close call whether BMW has any responsibility to Alex for the time he is without a car. When he leased the car BMW was obviously required to deliver a car that did what cars do, run and drive safely. They did. He broke the car and it’s his responsibility to fix it. It’s not BMW’s duty to fix it quickly simply because he leased it from them. If the delay is out of their control I see it as unlikely that BMW owes him much, and providing a substitute is a generous thing to do in light of the probable source of the problem of limited supply of parts. If he is required to bring the car to BMW for this repair it might be a different story, but we don’t know that. Perhaps he could buy a rack in Germany and have it shipped to the US, we don’t know that either. Right now it’s a situation where he broke the car and wants BMW to bear the burden of repairing it or what? Giving him an out on the lease? He has returned the car in a broken, unusable condition. Why should they release him?

Anyone involved in the manufacture of products. I manage multiple R&D groups across several SBUs within our company. We have devoted at least 50% of our available engineering resource to finding alternate parts or redesigning to accommodate what is currently available so that we can continue to ship products to our customers. Ironically, one of our biggest segments is in semiconductor fabrication. We can’t get the integrated circuits to make the machines that fabricate the integrated circuits :wink:

Everyone is in the same boat. The issue cropping up is companies making choices on alternate materials that have adverse consequences for the end product. They don’t realize there is an impact until their customer integrates the product within their system and finds out later that it failed in the field. But the pressure to continue manufacturing is causing them to take risks they might not otherwise be willing to take.

Alex’s situation stinks but it is not BMW’s responsibility. They have no control over their suppliers ability to get the materials they need to manufacture replacement parts. We have production lines at a standstill because one of our suppliers cannot get the copper alloy tubing they need to build a subcomponent of our system. They understand the consequential damages being incurred but it is not something in their control. For perspective, we’re talking about >$200M in WIP that cannot be completed and shipped. So we pull out all the stops to find resolution. This is what Alex must do. I realize he may not be technically inclined enough to do himself but find someone that is- exhaust all possible avenues. Search for wrecks that have working racks, find an international supplier, find a way to repair the existing rack even if it a temporary fix just to get back on the road…or just wait until the situation resolves itself…