Sadly it seems that many new car salesmen are just a hair above used car salesmen in their attitudes and sleezyness, but the reason for this must ultimately laid at the feet of the owners. If they have a basically cynical attitude about customers (fools and their money), then it eventually permeates the whole delaership.
When I was looking for my 1st BMW I ran into all types. At one BMW dealership I was shown a pre-owned 3 series with a ridiculous price. When I asked what the Kelly Blue Book value was, the salesman said he had never heard of the blue book. I high-tailed it away from that fat liar and headed to another dealerhsip. There I bought my car largely because the salesman was open, honest and helpful. The service department, however, ended up being horrific and I swore I would never go back to that dealership either.
So now I'm on BMW dealership #3 and while the sales guy seems good, the sales manager seems pretty tough and presented me with a dealer invoice number that is a almost $600 more than what you can find on-line or through here. I have a call into the salesman to discuss this and a few other questions.
Is BMW worse than average? After going to about 8 different BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Infiniti, Lexus and Acura dealers, I'd say yes. They do tend to be more arrogant. As for expecting to be coddled, some of their competitors are vey much into coddling so the impression is that their dealerships are more interested in customer service even if that's just an impression. You almost wish the engineering of the cars didn't let them get off being fat and lazy. Though I don't know how much influence various manufacturers have over their dealerships, I don't see Toyota ever letting a Lexus dealership earn a reputation for poor customer service. BMW, on the other hand, doesn't seem as intent in equating sales or brand loyalty to dealership experience.