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U.S. Importer Changeover: Hoffman Motors to BMW NA

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(edited)

First off, the following information is not likely to change anything! It is but a footnote.

 

I have long supported the theory that BMW of North America, Inc. (hereafter, BMW NA) assumed the role of sole U.S. importer in early 1975, well after the U.S. 1975 model year was under way. I have read that the change came amidst law suits between Hoffman Motors Corporation, the predecessor U.S. importer, and BMW, AG. The lawsuits flowed in both directions: BMW, AG claimed Hoffman failed to meet its promises and Hoffman Motors counter-sued, claiming BMW, AG failed to meet its commitments. Regardless, Hoffman was out and BMW NA was in.

 

But when was BMW NA “in”? For ‘02’s, it now appears to have happened around the beginning of the U.S. 1975 model year, with cars manufactured approximately September 1974. What evidence do I have? Relatively little, to be honest, but evidence that is hard to refute. Two simple items:

 

1. BMW Archives provided BMW NA as the importer for the U.S. 1974 tii, VIN 2782719, manufactured September 6, 1974, and,

 

2. The U.S.-mandated window sticker for the U.S. 1975 2002, VIN 2360598, manufactured September 1974, is from BMW NA (photo below).

 

Nether of these vehicles could have reached the U.S. until at least October 1974, but I’m not certain whether that matters for our purposes.

 

I currently have no BMW Archives or window sticker evidence from September 1974 or thereafter showing Hoffman Motors as the sole importer for ‘02’s. If you have BMW Archives, window sticker, or other evidence illustrating Hoffman Motors as the U.S. importer for ‘02’s after this time, please share it.

 

That’s it....

 

Hey, I told you it was just a footnote!  😉

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

 

 

D5B72618-BD47-4C24-9FCA-C36B74A6188A.jpeg

Edited by Conserv
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Official/legal papers were signed in March of 1975. 

 

Mac. 

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(edited)
21 minutes ago, mac said:

Official/legal papers were signed in March of 1975. 

 

Mac. 

 

Thank you, Mac,

 

So perhaps that date, March 1975, represents a cessation of the mutual lawsuits and recognition that Hoffman Motors had ceded their last rights under the BMW AG-Hoffman Motors agreement.

 

And perhaps that date is why we’ve long said that BMW NA took over the U.S. sole importer role in “early 1975”.  But, obviously, they were, de facto, serving in the role much earlier.

 

I’d guess Hoffman was not thrilled to give up sole importer rights just as the American public started buying large numbers of BMW’s...

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

Edited by Conserv

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(edited)

Steve,  The earliest e9 build date that shows BMWNA is the importer was in Dec 1974, just one data point however.  The 74 models were built until Dec 27th 1974 but they are still 74s.

Edited by HBChris

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Max, Marion Hoffman, had Hal Levitt Architect designed interior of Condo in Sunset Towers 1980, I was working for Hal Levitt Architect 1980 to 1985 and I had my MB 190 SL since 1971 so I knew who Max Hoffman was and wanted to talk to him and ask questions & listen for hours … but could not, I had to mind my p's and q's in work place … but Hal did point me out to Max as having a MB190 SL and I got to stare at Max eye to eye for a minute and telepathy say thanks … I think he received … a link that tells Max's story and I think maybe Max knew he was winding down because he passed away in 1981, but got to live in his Condo for 6 months and look down at the Jaguar Dealer that had been there prior to 1966 '66 1st time passed the Jag place … beautiful showroom … was to be 1 of my questions to Max … so thought you might like to see Max, Marion Hoffman's home his final days … L

 

https://drive-my.com/en/history/147-max-hoffman-gone-but-not-forgotten.html

Max, MarionHoffman Residence.PNG

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20 minutes ago, HBChris said:

Steve,  The earliest e9 build date that shows BMWNA is the importer was in Dec 1974, just one data point however.  The 74 models were built until Dec 27th 1974 but they are still 74s.

 

Thank you, Chris. Do you have records showing e9 builds from September through November 1974 being imported by Hoffman Motors?

 

So the U.S. ‘74 e9’s shared a “marketing strategy” with the U.S. ‘74 tii’s: a ‘74 model year extending to the end of the 1974 calendar year. The ‘74 tii’s issue was increased EPA regulations that were effective the later of (a.) the introduction of the 1975 model, or (b.) January 1, 1975.  Do we know why BMW extended the e9’s model year?

 

Best regards,

 

Steve

 

 

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(edited)

I have 13 build dates for Dec of 74, all Hoffman except for one, built 12/18.  I don’t track delivery dates however and coupes weren’t built in numerical order and vary two weeks between sequential VINs.

 

Euro coupes were built in 1975 including the gas crunch 2.5CS Model.

Edited by HBChris
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This is all fascinating information... I love reading this kinda stuff.... for the record and for help to narrow down BMW NA and Hoffman transition... my email to BMW archives replied with my car being manufactured May 12th 1975 and Delivered June 06th 1975 to BMW North America


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Great discussion.  A question I have is, who imported BMWs to Canada before BMW NA came into being?  Was it Max Hoffman or another individual or did BMW AG have a direct distribution network set up North of the border?

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Vancouver Distributors had the west coast of Canada, Hoffman only had the US.  They are listed in the Dealer Directory books.

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2 hours ago, HBChris said:

Vancouver Distributors had the west coast of Canada, Hoffman only had the US.  They are listed in the Dealer Directory books.

 

Many of the BMW Archives reports appear to simply say “Canada”, but just as Chris refers to Vancouver Distributors for the West Coast, I’ve seen other importers mentioned for other regions. So...did any of these importers, unlike Hoffman, keep records that survive through today?  Imagine a notebook that shows, by VIN, exterior and interior colors... 😉

 

I know, I know, I must be high on crack.... 😋

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

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(edited)

May 1972:

 

Vancouver 9, B.C.

BMW Distributors (Western) Ltd.

2040 Burrard Street

 

And still a BMW dealer at this address!

Edited by HBChris
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Well, my first, a new '75, was imported by Hoffman.

John

'74 2002 Polaris

My '75 window sticker...

image.thumb.png.c4ec713841f2afbbfa753e31d1c3a099.png

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(edited)
15 hours ago, john02md said:

Well, my first, a new '75, was imported by Hoffman.

John

'74 2002 Polaris

My '75 window sticker...

image.thumb.png.c4ec713841f2afbbfa753e31d1c3a099.png

 

Thanks, John,

 

RealOEM shows VIN 2362907 as a January 1975 build. Is that consistent with a date you’ve gotten from BMW Archives (info.grouparchiv@bmwgroup.com)?

 

So we’ve got a September 1974 build (VIN 2360598) sold through BMW NA and a January 1975 build (VIN 2362907) sold through Hoffman Motors. Are we possibly looking at a court order dictating the U.S. importer remain Hoffman — even though some earlier cars were clearly imported by BMW NA — while BMW AG and Hoffman waged a legal battle for control?

 

We need (much) more data to get a better picture of this...transition!

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

Edited by Conserv

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