How BMW used social to sell car parts to Singaporeans

Low Lai Chow

When luxury car manufacturer BMW – currently the top-selling car brand in Singapore – identified a "disappointingly low" pick-up rate for its Performance Parts range in the market, it went on the traditional route of advertising, direct mailers and roadshows... and ended up with even more disappointment.

"The results were less than encouraging. We had to look elsewhere," said Lito S. German, Marketing Director of BMW Asia, speaking at Festival of Media Asia 2011.

BMW had understood its customers' needs and identified a growing demand for customisation ("they see these cars as avatars or extensions of themselves"), and the range was designed to fill that gap. So why was it that its extensive range of customisable parts and accessories, which ran the gamut from steering wheels to power kits, had failed to convert to sales?