At first glance, this sounds similar to Ford's debacle late last year. However, closer inspection reveals a twist: the criticism aimed at BMW is coming from www.GayWheels.com, a resource for the gay and lesbian community. The website maintains lists of what they call "Gay-Friendly" and "Non-Gay-Friendly" automakers, based on the domestic partner benefits available to their employees. BMW does not offer domestic partner benefits, although a company spokesman said this is an effort to comply with New Jersey laws. The website labels BMW as hypocritical as the automaker targets the "deep pockets" of the gay and lesbian community without supporting their gay and lesbian employees.
Criticism like this serves as a reminder that each automaker must move as a cohesive unit, with the model line, advertising, and corporate staff moving in the same direction at the same time, all reflecting the same image.