The sight of a Rolls-Royce sitting forlornly in a scrapyard waiting to be dismantled was at best incongruous, at worst upsetting.
Incongruous, because the car in question was a virtually new Phantom, costing just £50 short of a £217,000 at today's showroom prices.
Upsetting because Royces simply do not deserve to end up in a scrap yard - unless, of course, someone has been so uncaring as to crash one beyond repair.
After all, an estimated six out of every ten ever made is still reckoned to be roadworthy. So what was not one, but two Phantoms doing partially stripped down in a yard just a few miles from the centre of Munich?
A clue lay in the fact that they were surrounded by equally new-looking BMW 7-series and 5-series cars and a few Minis.
For this was BMW's small, but highly-innovative group recycling and dismantling centre (RDC) at Lohof where the company, which builds Rolls-Royces at Chichester and Minis at Oxford, consigns its cars to a process aimed at ensuring they meet European Union regulations dictating the recycling of the materials that go into their construction.
The end- of- life vehicle (ELV) rules mean that a vehicle registered on or after July 1 2002 must be taken by its manufacturer from the last registered owner free of charge and 80 per cent of its contents recycled. The rule will apply to every vehicle taken off the road
from January 1 2007, which, bearing in mind that millions are scrapped within the EU every year, manufacturers are having to shoulder a huge financial and technical burden.
Which makes it all the more imperative to design and build cars with high inbuilt levels of recyclability. BMW is approaching the challenge from two directions. The first is to design and develop specialist tools to enable the recycling centres throughout the world that will be handling its cars to do the job quickly and efficiently.
The second is to work with its own design engineers to ensure that the next generation of BMW, Minis and Rolls-Royces and their contents are made as easy to recycle as possible.
That's the job of the Lohof recycling centre.
Plant director Marcus Essenpreiss explained that the innovations to come out of Lohof so far include a device for triggering anything up to 15 airbags in seconds with just one controlled explosion and tools for draining fluids out shock aborbers quickly and easily.
"Our objective is to cut the time it takes to strip a car of all its components and drain away all its fluids. The time taken to remove a windscreen has been reduced from 15 minutes to just two minutes and while it would previously have taken two hours just to disarm the airbags we can now do it very quickly indeed," Mr Essenpreiss said.
Other innovations include specially designed shears aimed at making the dismantling of catalytic converters and wiring harnesses quicker, easier and cheaper.
One especially impressive bit of kit is a crusher employing 180 tonnes of pressure to solid blocks of metal.
That makes it cheaper to transport them to a shredder that chews up the compressed blocks into pieces no larger than the palm of your hand while separating ferrous metal from non-ferrous in the process.
It backs up these claims by pointing out that the new 3 Series car has headlights consisting of single grades of material that can be sorted effectively while the new 7 Series has an easily removable bumper designed and constructed to make dismantling an economic proposition.
Also, the 3 Series now comes with an instrument panel whose main material can be reused as the basis for the manufacture of hot air ducts.
On top of that, all new BMWs have wheel arch liners made almost entirely from recycled plastic.