B&W Name Change Theory

I have a theory that B&W is changing to Bowers and Wilkins due to there now entering the automotive market (Jaguar) and wanting to avoid confusion with BMW. Jaguar wouldn't want people thinking they have a BMW audio system.

Any thoughts?
I hope they penetrate deep into the market and displace BOSE. I hate the fact that regardless if you buy a Porsche or a GMC truck, the manufacturer forces you to go with Bose system as part of the package.

I once passed on purchasing a Volvo R series wagon because I could not get it without the Bose package. These days it's all but impossible to avoid them.

They must be the richest audio company around.
Could be the reason, anything is posible

My GMC Envoy came with a Bose, does it sound great?, nope but ....IT IS A CAR, GET OVER IT!

Buying a car because it has a great stereo is ALMOST as silly as not buying one because if its stereo is a certain brand, I should be so lucky to have a charmed enough life that things like that bothered me.
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If Bose is in every car and they're the richest audio company around, it stands to reason that they're the best, right? I don't understand why this is so hard for you to understand Albert :-)

The best part about Bose car stereos is that they use non-standard electrical interfaces, so if you want to swap them out, it's a LOT more work / expense.

As for B&W, I have no idea if car audio has anything to do with their name change. As a devoted BMW-driver, I can attest that nobody who has ever heard a BMW car stereo would not want a BMW stereo in their car because they're terrible, even if there was no brand-clash. Even their "upgraded" Harmon Kardon system is lame - terrible in the 3 series, passable in the 5 series.
Buying a car because it has a great stereo may be a little silly, but passing on one brand of car to buy another one of equal quality that has a better stereo is intelligent, in my opinion.
It's not a name change. They have always been Bowers and Wilkins; they just choose to stop using their initials. I do agree that B&W sound too similar to BMW so I always say "B&W speakers" to avoid confusion. I also think Bowers and Wilkins sounds more elegant.
Mark Levinson never made car stereos. He sold the company to Harman International who took one of their Harmon Kardon designs and put a Mark Levinson label on it.

Ignoring the fact that HK does make decent car stereos; if you bought a Lexus because it had a Mark Levinson system in it; then you have fallen for the same market hype that Joe Consumer falls for when he buys a car because of the Bose system.
The cars that are hardest to sell are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They are the ones fully loaded with every option (too expensive) and the ones that come bare bones (no options).

I can remember getting a deal on a Corolla back the in 80s because it did not have the AM/FM/Cassette/4 speakers system that everyone wanted even in an economy car. It only had AM/FM and two cheap speakers in the lower dash. I took the car down to a car audio outlet, and with the savings put in a system that made the better one Toyota gave you a joke in comparison.

I like them using Bowers and Wilkens. The initials probably do sound too much like BMW. Now they can put a Richard E. Lord (REL) subwoofer in the trunk ... :-)

My car stereo is almost as fun to listen to as my home stereo, granted I've spent a decent amount of cash and time/work on it.

It seems that the vast majority of audiophiles completely dismiss the possibility of enjoying music in their car. I would like to emphasize that if done well, car audio can be just as dynamic as your high-end home system, and just about as fun to listen to. It's kind of like headphones, in that you have drivers very close to you on either side. There are a couple of comprimises, namely imaging is tricky (but who cares) and road noise, though both can be dealt with.
I doubt they are even Bose systems, it is probably a Delco unit wearing the Bose badge because of its reputation with the masses.
Yes, the speakers are probably Bose, the hardware whatever they usually use depending on car brand. I doubt Bose makes car stereos. They don't directly sell them after market.

There are some real nice after market car stereos out there.
The Creek C43 Audiophile Tuner and the Cambridge Audio T500 clone used a car stereo chipset. Michael Creek said he used it because the reception was much better than anything else he could come up with.
Renault has a Cabasse sound system!!!
I will "get" car audio when the driver seats in the middle of the car!!!
Anyway I listen to music with my eyes closed, so driving with my eyes closed may be illegal in some states...
My GMC Envoy came with a Bose, does it sound great?, nope but ....IT IS A CAR, GET OVER IT!

I must have done something to you in a past life, my comments frequently force you to post something negative.

What bothers me about Bose car audio is paying extra, getting miserable sound and supporting a brand I don't like.

The inexpensive stock GM radio that came in my 1999 Yukon was more accurate and less distortion than my newer Yukon's Bose system. This newer one sounds "souped" up, like early color TV's with their over driven color to attract attention.

Exciting at first but really wears on you with time.

I don't expect audiophile quality in a car, but like Goatwuss, I find it enjoyable if it's clean with an overall balanced sound.

The Volvo I passed up buying was a premium R model wagon with a hot engine plus all wheel drive. Not available unless you bought it with giant Bose speaker sticking (literally) two or three inches out of the dash.

This was not a pleasant cosmetic addition. There must not have been sufficient depth for the big speaker, so a spacer with Bose logo was added with no attempt at making it flow with the original design.

In other words, ugly, premium price, worse sound and the buyer has no choice but accept what looked like a botched aftermarket job when it was in fact, premium original equipment.
Bose shows the power and the triumph of marketing. I hope I never have to provide them with profit by buying anything with Bose in it.
regards, David
I speak negative or sharp, or sacasticly or whatever you want to call it to everyone all the time just as much as I do in a helpful, supportive nature, so please dont get touchy it isnt you, just having fun and asking why so many small things appear to be such a big deal to many. It looks like reading is easier to take offense to as it isnt heard in its proper context (you cant hear a sacastic laugh when you read).
I didnt like that my Envoy had Bose, made jokes about it but it is a car so I dont fuss over it, that was my point, I also was only responding to you because you posted about not buying a car because of its stereo, it could have been anyone but it was you. I have talked to Albert on phone before and it was a pleasure, I have nothing personal against the man. Also when I said get over it, it was to everyone and a general statement, not pointed or directed souly at Albert, again when reading it is harder to pick up clues of context and type can be taken a few different ways. There are many members who take jabs or make fun of issues in a light hearted way and rarely do I see someone think they are being attacked, sorry you feel that way.
Understood, it is impossible to know looking at text.

I didnt like that my Envoy had Bose, made jokes about it but it is a car so I dont fuss over it, that was my point, I also was only responding to you because you posted about not buying a car because of its stereo, it could have been anyone but it was you.

You can see by my last post that I too own a GMC with Bose. The Volvo was different. Bad sound, LOTS more money and looked horrible.

No doubt when my lease expires I'm looking at another GMC Yukon or maybe the Chevy Tahoe (same car). I have to have something that size for my photo business.

I was injured in my BMW wagon when I got T boned by a young guy in a giant chrome covered Pontiac from the 1970's. My seat was even scooted over and the controls knocked off from the impact. After that, the big GMC was looking mighty good to me.
I have always replaced my cars' stock stereos, but its tricky to do that with newer cars without upsetting the delicate balance electronics and dashboards layouts. So, I will take this as good news as I like B&W's less expensive speakers. Maybe Burmester could join with BMW as an option that would double the price of the car? Neat!
If you spend as much time as I do in a vehicle, the sound system definetely matters and I can definetely see Albert's point of view of that being a point of due consideration when picking a car. I had my stock stereo swapped out and really like it (Alpine) but I spend a lot of time commuting and traveling in my vehicle. It is important and worth it for me as I am sure it is with Albert.

It is often difficult for others to appreciate your own circumstances, wants, needs, etc. We are all value these things in our life according to our own personal scale. I have a friend that has a $7K bicycle but I think that is awesome but many say that he is crazy. I have come to try to appreciate why somebody's value for something may be different than my own and what it says about them. Just because someone likes ABC pre-amp and you don't tells you something I think. What the hell does it mean? Whose the knucklehead here?

I have found many of those in this community to be very thoughtful of how they pick what they are purchasing - go read the "what time do you wear" thread. That makes Albert's car selection method seem quite valid.

Oh yeah, B&W name change. Is it really a name change or just a decision to really use their name instead of an acronym? Were they always known as B&W?
I see Bose and Volvo on the same level. Terribly overrated, and bought by people who believe the advertising, without knowing much about the subject.

Volvo's safety "advances" are typically Mercedes patents that Mercedes chooses not to enforce. Beside that, most Japanese cars surpass Volvo's in most areas.

I remember an Audi ad from long ago, with a nondescript car making lots of noise and all kinds of things happening when it hit something. Then comes the Audi that smoothly just goes around the same object.

Look at Volvo resale value - even Bose's is better - there's a message there.

So - I don't want a Volvo with or without Bose, or Bose with or without Volvo.

One final note - all those super-smart people who buy Volvo's and put all the college decals in the back window to impress someone. The fact that they can't see out the back window anymore - doesn't that send anothert message?
I could not car less.... Hell even I think Lexus has a Mark levinson system, but at about a 5000 dollar premium or something! I would assume thats with a nice navigation system, DVD, LCD etc... Well I would hope, but yeah car audio who cares? You could put your own custom setup in a car these days for about 1000 bucks and get better sound than most stock systems anyway if you really want.

Sounds like somebody at a Volvo dealership pissed you off.

My first Volvo was purchased in 1986 when my son was born. Poor design, bad design or whatever your opinion, he was safer riding around in that 740 wagon than the Honda Civic wagon that I sold to move into it.

Mercedes better? Yea, probably and maybe you can justify one but I can't.

When it was time for this purchase I had watched Honda go from about $3500.00 to nearly 10K as I prospected for the fifth one in a long line.

The Volvo was maybe 13K, and had an UNLIMITED bumper to bumper warranty, 5 full years covering EVERYTHING down to trim and paint. It had real leather interior, turbo option, dropped forged wheels, discs all four corners, electric sunroof and got great gas mileage.

This was pre-Ford and it was a damn nice car with no attitude from the company that was really more famous for having an image as the Swedish VW with their sturdy 240.

Honda was getting pretty full of themselves by that time. Money paid in advance and wait for a month or two and "maybe" the dealership would get stock and telephone you to come in. Frankly that sends a much bigger message than decals in the back window.

And no, mine had only one sticker, the parking pass required to enter the lot at Dallas Museum of Art. But I guess that's tacky too isn't it?

I would have been much cooler if I owned a Lexus with a gold package and 20" rims, right?
From a 740 to a Civic and the 740's safer. This is surprising? The Honda price went up. Look at pictures of Honda's over that period and see if maybe there's some justification, like size, equipment, etc.

The new Accord is the size of a 5 series -and starts at $20k. Seems like a reasonable value that will have people lined up again - somehow this equates to Honda's taking advantage?

What I said was many of "innovations" Volvo has been so adept at taking credit for are are Mercedes unenforced patents. You can find them in Civics today too. Subaru's have 5 star crash ratings etc.

Many of the Japanese cars have safety ratings better than Volvo. Check Consumer Reports listings for repair and value retention. I guess you know something others who do objective analysis don't.

What's tacky is Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Brown, Columbia etc filling a back window so you can't see out (as I mentioned). See, there's an irony - these people are screaming out to everyone how smart they are, but they can't see out of the back window because they're advertising it. Maybe I wasn't clear?

I don't understand your Lexus dig, but assume there's a point. Lexus also make fine auto's, no? Maybe they do such mods. in your neighborghood, but not in mine, thanks anyway.

Cool and Volvo is like good sound and Bose was my point. Many of the things they're touted for are either non existant, ot ancient history.

You should buy one. They need the business. Others apparently have caught on.
Just wait untill you go into a sharp curve at 80 mph and you will notice the difference between a Volvo and a Honda!
Driving in a huge highway bumper to bumper at 55mph it makes no diference what car you get...you can decide based on the cars stereo system!!!
OK, Snofun3, not I realize you have a deep seated hatred for Volvo's with window stickers. Maybe you had neighbor with one and their dog's barking kept you up all night?

Here is a link that shows style and size of the Honda Civic in 1986


Funny, that looks nothing like a 5 series, maybe your confusing years.

Here's what Volvo was building in 1986 (although mine was the wagon)

I just looked up safety ratings via Google:

1982-2004 Civics were assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 on their level of occupant protection.

(1984-1987) - "significantly worse than average"

Here Volvo:

(1984-1987)-"significantly better than average"

Volvo cars have a reputation for comfort, solidity, safety and longevity. Older models were often compared to tractors, partially because Volvo AB was and still is a manufacturer of heavy equipment, earlier Bolinder-Munktell, now Volvo Construction Equipment.

The average age of a Volvo being discarded is second only to Mercedes at 19.8 years. Reliability is considered better than average.

Last (and really not on topic for our private auto war :^) Safety data on vehicles large enough for me to conduct business.


Chevy Suburban 5,759/166.45
Cadillac Escalade
GMC Yukon Denali
Chevy Tahoe (tie) 5,372/155.26
Lincoln Navigator

Ford Expedition (tie) 4,890/141.33
Mercedes-Benz ML320 4,396/137.42
Nissan Pathfinder
Infiniti QX4 (tie) 4,4147/134.58


Jeep Wrangler 3,322/96.01
Subaru Forester 3,171/91.65
Toyota RAV4 2,908/90.98
Dodge Durango 4,657/89.27
Jeep Cherokee 3,457/77.33

Note GMC, Tahoe & Surburban, (all the same car) are top of the heap and really a nice car at lease price (in this market) at $318.00 a month.
I can speak for Volvos. The first "driving vacation" that I ever went on was in a used Volvo 144 my parents had when I was about 4yrs old that we had borrowed. A railroad tie came off the back of a truck when we were driving 70mph; we hit it, ran over it, broke both front rims, then kind of wobbled down the road to the nearest service station. That vacation ended early but that was 1972 and my parents have had at least Volvo all the time since. The only real complaint I have ever had with one was that one broke a piston rod (while we were on vacation) after it was 11yrs old and the car had 120k+ miles on it. I guess the other complaint was that the 740 wagon with intercooler and turbo which followed that one had very low gearing in 1st, meaning that the only way to beat my friends off the line was to quickly shift into 2nd (the turbo kicked in at around 2200rpm from what I remember) and let it run... (hope my mother doesn't see this...). Since then, none of the Volvos we have had has racked up less than 100k miles and we have always sold them on for a much better price (as % of new) than you could sell an American car w/ 100k+ miles. And even back in the day, fully loaded with family of four on a week's ski trip, we could average 25mpg (skis on top kept that down from 28-29).

Gratuitous addition... the P1800ES was soooo cool and I have always wanted to buy one and swap out the engine for something more powerful; huuuuge rear window - perfect for putting lots of yuppy college decals on the back :^)
And now back to your regularly scheduled program...

I have wondered for years why B&W didn't us their full name on their speakers (as I have wondered about Boothroyd Stuart). For me, having the full name on them lends a feeling of "boutique" rather than "monster brand". By the same token, I have always thought the name "supratek" was terrible marketing because of its 'plastic' corporate sound. The power of names never ceases to amaze me, despite the fact that in the end, they mean nothing.
They used B&W as in BMW to piggy back on the car company's upscale image and know, they move to a more "history rich" name which tells the story about co-founders, etc, etc. Unfortunately, the more they grow, the more their products look like overrated BMW and less like handcrafted "boutique" creations. Their latest Sig Diamond is as BMW as it gets. Or Hyundai, whatever.
Levinson had investors that took his company and his name. They became Madrigal which was purchased by Harman.
I have it on good authority that Bower & Wilkins aren't concerned about the German car maker, but about the potential suit for the heirs of Bob Marley & the Wailers. Rita, Ziggy et al. are getting aggressive about protecting the name of BM&W.
How come I'm the only one telling B&W to..."Get up", "Stand up", "Stand up for your rights!"
Watching Volvo owners defend Volvos is almost as funny as watching Bose owner's on TV. I say "The new Accord is the size of a 5 series -and starts at $20k. ", and the response is "Civic - Funny, that looks nothing like a 5 series, maybe your confusing years. Huh? Was that difficult to follow or ….?

Look, Volvo’s are a cliché for tree huggers and academics who don’t know any better, or status seekers who can't afford Mercedes. It’s advertising hype.

OK, according to LATEST NHTA tests (not 1984 or whenever), Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and even Kia (!) score higher than Volvo as far as safety. Now safety is what Volvo is all about, RIGHT?

“Just wait until you go into a sharp curve at 80 mph and you will notice the difference between a Volvo and a Honda!” OK, from Motor trend Oct 2007 on the C30 (a minified C40)

“Volvo’s newest car is more for designers than drivers…. I don’t get the sense I’m in a fun car…it’s a shame the driving dynamics clash with the stunning looks… the engine doesn’t feel or sound refined, reminds me of a kitchen appliance… doesn’t make you want to go quickly…universally trashed was the action of the gearbox and clutch….light and imprecise, and she was being kind…possibly the worst six speed transmission on sale in the US today…numb steering and softness of the suspicion excessive body roll and lack of feeling.

80mph in a Volvo - you first. Try an Accord V6 at 80, or a Camry Sport (4 or V6) at 80 and you’ll rethink that statement quickly. Oh, and I assume you’re not including the coupe versions, or the NSX of course.

Look, you guys drank the Kool Aid – and that's OK, but next time you want to go apoplectic about Volvo's, get out of the 80’s and realize it’s time is long past. One look at resale value should make that obvious.

Stick to audio equipment guys. Automobiles are obviously not a strong point.

You're welcome to have the final word Albert.
Cmon guys let it go, doesnt anyone listen to music? If you like it buy it, if you dont laugh at those who do but for gods sake move on man!
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Snofun3. I'm not looking for the final word, I hope you read and understand where I'm coming from on this well diverted topic, and then respond.

I know nothing about the Ford- Volvo of today.

As stated in my original post, my opinion regarded my 1986 Volvo which was purchased 21 years ago and LONG since sold.

This decision was because my son had just been born and I wanted something more substantial than a Honda Civic to wrap around him in Dallas traffic.

Again, owing to the fact that Honda had gotten to where people were willing to pay $1000.00 down, just to be on a list and hope for a car was simply too much for me to bear, especially considering the difference in "substance" between the two cars and the price difference.

My copied and pasted comments were about the original Volvo company, their very reasonably priced 240 series and the good performing 740 Turbo with stunning warranty, when Volvo were trying to earn a spot in the US auto market.

I am "out of the 80’s," in fact I have moved back to USA cars, been driving them for the last 9 years because they are trying to win back customers, having built such bad product for so many years.

I would prefer a Mercedes or BMW wagon, and stopped looking at Volvo (long ago) when rear wheel drive went away. Volvo is not returning to rear wheel drive and I don't have the income to pay for BMW or Mercedes.

I think both of us are arguing points but I'm not sure we're on the same topic or disagreeing.

P.S. I still think B&W or Bowers and Wilkins (if they prefer being called that now) is capable of building a much more musical and linear audio system for automobiles than Bose.

That's what started this diversion, and it was a sincere opinion. I have B&W speakers in my HT system and think the world of them. Especially considering their price point and compact dimensions.
Well Snofun3, I am guilty as charged, I do not have or ever had a Volvo I thought they were up to the level of the Audi I do have, I have both: Audi and Honda (civc) from the same year 2002 and with almost the same mileage (low) let me tell you these 2 machines are worlds apart, the Honda is already a piece of junk while the Audi still smells like new, we refer to the honda as "the Bicycle" it is very reliable, easy to drive, and never needs a any gas, but the Audi is better in every aspect, probably not a fair comparison, Accord V6 most surely will handle better...
My Audi is 2 door, I have a new baby boy so we had to purchase a "real" 4 door car to drive the baby around, we got a big VW.

About B&W I really never liked the sound of those speakers, I hope with the name change comes a better speaker? Horn loaded maybe???
I ain't looking for the last word either. The last one my family has was bought in 1992 or something like that - and it still is a good car 15yrs on. I personally happen to like Bimmers better ('cept for the iDrive thingy). I also happen to like mid-60s Ferraris, and early 30s Bentleys better, and they are no safer (lucky if you have belts), get worse mileage (if they take unleaded), have no place to stick your 2.2 kids and golden retriever without getting cleat marks, saliva, and hair all over the place (and even worse if you consider the dog), and repairing the dented fender from the bonehead in the Safeway parking lot who can't see how far back their Suburban actually goes when they are trying to back out (no offense Albert, but I've seen this a lot) can get expensive.

And back to B&Ws, I agree Albert. Good bang for buck and size. Great value used on the older models where I live. But, when I'm tooling around in any one of my garage full of 1960s Ferraris, I'm listening to the tune of a V12 and a beautiful exhaust note rather than a car radio. Much nicer... Oops, Travis, head out of the clouds... Rather, when I am in the subway, I have my ipod.