30 July 2007

Never again.

Given that Bill O'Reilly wants a great American city, San Francisco, destroyed, and given that BMW is cheerleading around O'Reilly in the most enthusiastic way possible, I have come to one conclusion.

You will never see this scene again. I will never return to the Bay Area with my BMW - my conscience won't allow it. My next visit will most likely be made with a beat-up Honda Accord.

And honestly, I hate to own a car that makes me worry about where I can take it, and where I can't. I'm starting to lean toward getting rid of my BMW, while it is still worth something. A low-mileage 3-year-old luxury car has a lot of appeal in the used car market; it won't when it's a 7-year-old high-miler.

If this were only about O'Reilly, it's one thing. But BMW is also notorious for refusing to advertise to specific demographics (or in any minority language of a given country), while its competitors love to target specific demographics. Moreover, BMW is a huge corporate supporter of Pope Benedict XVI, and is the only European car company in America to refuse benefits to domestic partners of employees (unless Renault-owned Nissan is also counted). Surely, my car looks out of place in front of San Francisco City Hall, where gay couples were getting hitched in 2004.

Given the track record, I just don't see BMW as the kind of company that will pull advertising from O'Reilly, unlike, say, Lowe's Home Improvement, a minor advertiser who found O'Reilly not conforming to its standards.

Surely, the 3-series is still the greatest car to have - if I race, or otherwise put it to the limit often. But I rarely drive a car at the limit - and certainly never do with my own car. Until now, I've dismissed a worthy competitor, the Audi A4, as an inferior wannabe, knowing that it's not as good at the limit; but given that Audi commits none of the transgressions of BMW, has a better interior, and is more than acceptable in everyday driving, I'm very interested now. It's also cheaper and more fuel-efficient. Sure, the Audi is lower on the German Autobahn pecking order than BMW, but so what? And if I want to go higher on the order, there is always the Mercedes-Benz C-class, a brand-new version of which will be available next month. And while Mercedes was a minor O'Reilly advertiser, I see it as being more receptive to the customers' concerns than BMW ever will.

(And yes, I am a sucker for German cars still!)