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      09-10-2012, 03:07 AM   #23
simianspeedster
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I've been saying for months that BMW really screwed the pooch by making making too many radical changes to the F30 too quickly (especially for BMW loyalists) and they're driving customers to the competition.

See: http://wot.motortrend.com/mercedes-c...es-257447.html

And: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...168488866.html

The sales figures don't lie, especially relative to the competition. Keep in mind that the 328i Sedan has been BMW's volume car in the U.S. for a very long time. Then consider the fact that BMW's YTD 3 Series sales overall are DOWN from 2011 while the rest of the industry is substantially up in all segments. Some of that may be slower sales of the remaining E9X cars (coupes & convertibles) because customers know all new models are coming soon, and some sales are being lost to the X3 and X1, but the obvious answer is that the F30 is a big sales disappointment. With a brand new volume leader model in the showrooms, BMW should be killing it right now, but they're not. Why? We all know why:
  • The "lines" packing strategy is terrible -- too many forced choices. Do you want sport seats or tan leather? or would you like to pay for a line plus the M-Sport package to get both? WTF, BMW?
  • The packaging is also uncompetitive in terms of price
  • The car feels less distinct from the competition, less traditionally BMW-like in many aspects
  • The lease incentives are still competitive, but other manufacturers (Infiniti and Mercedes, for example) have caught up while BMW has slipped in this area. I think this is a big reason why the 3 sold so poorly in August -- incentives were better just a couple months ago.
  • The car is overwhelmed with technology, whether you want it or not. Start/Stop is non-optional, iDrive is non-optional. Many people won't care, but enough traditionalists will to give them pause about buying a rolling computer. The fact that BMW is allowing dealers to allow stop/start to be disabled by default clearly shows that this is an issue.

And I'm not buying one excuse I've seen repeated around these boards -- that the F30 has limited supply. Just search cars.com and you'll see that's not true with the exception of the 335 in some markets. But the 335 doesn't sell in volume in the U.S. -- as I recall, the 328i outsells it somewhere between 10:1 and 20:1. And there are PLENTY of 328s available in the U.S. I'm in Southern California and cars.com shows me over 1,300 (!) new 2012 and 2013 328 Sedans within a 100 mile radius. No, this isn't a supply issue, this is a demand issue.

BMW still has the opportunity to salvage the F30, but I think they're stubborn enough not to because they're fine losing traditional buyers as long as they pick up some share of ECO-buyers, etc. They'll convince themselves that it's OK to lose traditional BMW drivers (especially 3 Series drivers) as long as the make up some volume with other models. But BMW could be performing so much better by serving both customers -- it's kind of sad to watch them walk away from their old core market. Long term, I think they will regret mortgaging the core of their brand because they will inevitably become a company without a clear mission.

For my part, my comparative experience with my E92 and my wife's F30 definitely means I'll be looking at an E82 if I stay with BMW. Consider that the 2013 E82 is the last year BMW will make a car with an NA I6 and hydraulic steering. My disappointment with our F30 means I'm unlikely to buy another 3 Series any time soon. And that makes me a perfect example of why these sales stats look the way they do.

Last edited by simianspeedster; 09-10-2012 at 03:20 AM.
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      09-10-2012, 06:35 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simianspeedster View Post
I've been saying for months that BMW really screwed the pooch by making making too many radical changes to the F30 too quickly (especially for BMW loyalists) and they're driving customers to the competition.

See: http://wot.motortrend.com/mercedes-c...es-257447.html

And: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-relea...168488866.html

The sales figures don't lie, especially relative to the competition. Keep in mind that the 328i Sedan has been BMW's volume car in the U.S. for a very long time. Then consider the fact that BMW's YTD 3 Series sales overall are DOWN from 2011 while the rest of the industry is substantially up in all segments. Some of that may be slower sales of the remaining E9X cars (coupes & convertibles) because customers know all new models are coming soon, and some sales are being lost to the X3 and X1, but the obvious answer is that the F30 is a big sales disappointment. With a brand new volume leader model in the showrooms, BMW should be killing it right now, but they're not. Why? We all know why:
  • The "lines" packing strategy is terrible -- too many forced choices. Do you want sport seats or tan leather? or would you like to pay for a line plus the M-Sport package to get both? WTF, BMW?
  • The packaging is also uncompetitive in terms of price
  • The car feels less distinct from the competition, less traditionally BMW-like in many aspects
  • The lease incentives are still competitive, but other manufacturers (Infiniti and Mercedes, for example) have caught up while BMW has slipped in this area. I think this is a big reason why the 3 sold so poorly in August -- incentives were better just a couple months ago.
  • The car is overwhelmed with technology, whether you want it or not. Start/Stop is non-optional, iDrive is non-optional. Many people won't care, but enough traditionalists will to give them pause about buying a rolling computer. The fact that BMW is allowing dealers to allow stop/start to be disabled by default clearly shows that this is an issue.
And I'm not buying one excuse I've seen repeated around these boards -- that the F30 has limited supply. Just search cars.com and you'll see that's not true with the exception of the 335 in some markets. But the 335 doesn't sell in volume in the U.S. -- as I recall, the 328i outsells it somewhere between 10:1 and 20:1. And there are PLENTY of 328s available in the U.S. I'm in Southern California and cars.com shows me over 1,300 (!) new 2012 and 2013 328 Sedans within a 100 mile radius. No, this isn't a supply issue, this is a demand issue.

BMW still has the opportunity to salvage the F30, but I think they're stubborn enough not to because they're fine losing traditional buyers as long as they pick up some share of ECO-buyers, etc. They'll convince themselves that it's OK to lose traditional BMW drivers (especially 3 Series drivers) as long as the make up some volume with other models. But BMW could be performing so much better by serving both customers -- it's kind of sad to watch them walk away from their old core market. Long term, I think they will regret mortgaging the core of their brand because they will inevitably become a company without a clear mission.

For my part, my comparative experience with my E92 and my wife's F30 definitely means I'll be looking at an E82 if I stay with BMW. Consider that the 2013 E82 is the last year BMW will make a car with an NA I6 and hydraulic steering. My disappointment with our F30 means I'm unlikely to buy another 3 Series any time soon. And that makes me a perfect example of why these sales stats look the way they do.
The E90 was also sold alongside the E46 coupe,convertible for a lil while before the E92/93 came out yet the 3 series overall saw strong sales.
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      09-10-2012, 03:44 PM   #25
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My CA said sales are shaping up to be the worst in 10 years or maybe even his long career. Other areas are seeing different sales.
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      09-11-2012, 03:09 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrh335 View Post
My CA said sales are shaping up to be the worst in 10 years or maybe even his long career. Other areas are seeing different sales.
Interesting. Did he offer up any specifics or a hypothesis as to why?
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      09-11-2012, 12:45 PM   #27
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I would think the "lines" thing might have a good deal to do with it. Unless one chooses sport or M sport, every thing about the lines is cosmetic. Moreover, if you want an interior color besides black or beige, you have to choose a line and pay for that cosmetic BS. And frankly, most people (not people on this forum) won't notice the difference. Both the Modern and Luxury force you to get the premium package, which any clown can see is a huge waste of money.

Personally, I think the average person wants a 3er that doesn't feel like a Lexus, Buick or Benz to drive and that has interior and exterior colors of their choosing and a few simple options they think they need, probably heated seats, sunroof and navigation, maybe an upgraded stereo system. If that's what they want with black or beige inside, no problem, get the base model, add the options and out the door with a reasonably priced 3er. If that's what they want with grey, or tan, or chestnut, or whatever, they have to add a damn line and pay a couple grand more and the couple grand buys nothing that'll hold value come resale time, and as that cosmetic stuff has no wholesale value, the car's depreciation is greater come lease end time. Thus, if one is little bit price sensitive, the lines will exacerbate that sensitivity.

Then, look at all the useless crap BMW package with things folks may want. For example, comfort access is bundled with the premium package. Now granted folks may want comfort access for it can be handy, but not for $2k+ (assuming one doesn't choose the luxury or modern line.) The rear view camera is useful, but you have to get parking distance control with it. What is the point of PDC if you have a camera which allows you to see what the hell's back there and gauge how close you are to it? And if you don't have a camera, you don't need the car screaming at you to let you know you are close to the car behind/in front of you; you already know that. (I realize there can be exceptions, but by and large, folks are very aware of what's around their car before they start to move the car.) You want to know how close. One inch, three inches, etc. And if you aren't parallel parking, it's completely useless, perhaps even annoying, when you are just pulling into or out of a shopping center parking space or your garage/car port.

Another factor, I think, is the motor. I don't know one soul who thinks a sport (or luxury if one thinks of a 3er that way) anything comes with a four cylinder motor, regardless of how good in fact that motor is. It just doesn't seem right. And truthfully, at higher speeds, the four cylinder's power delivery does begin to wane, well before that of a six or eight cylinder. Now how sporting is that?

In short, the things that made BMW different from its competitors -- a la carte, "have it your way" configurations, driving characteristics, and value for dollars spent -- has been watered down. As a result, BMW competes with Caddy, MB, Audi, et al on price more than on the car's merit.

Personally, I think BMW would be struggling to keep cars on the lots were they to simply make a car that was pure BMW and didn't need stuff added to it to be convenient for most folks. Make the 3er standard with sport suspension, sunroof, nav, comfort access, rear view camera (sans PDC), xenons, sport seats and lumbar support, along with the stuff that's already standard and they'll have a well equipped car that most folks would find quite satisfying. I say these things should be standard because a person will experience and appreciate them every single time they get in the car, save maybe the xenons for which it needs to be dark when they get in the car. This approach would differentiate BMW from the competition because the competition forces one to get these things along with stuff that doesn't provide palpable, daily value. After all, for most buyers, their 3er is their daily driver, and what else does one want in a daily driver other than stuff that provides value every damn day, and if they can get exactly that for $42K - $45K, and it's a BMW, they are quite content.

That formula keeps Hondas and Toyotas flying off showroom floors. The slightly, and it is just slightly, upmarket buyer is not any different in desiring a relatively decision free, hassle free way to choose a car.
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      09-12-2012, 03:30 PM   #28
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surprisingly to see that the Lines are not well received by the US customers when the initial idea was determined by US demands which BMW launched in the E46.

Its a totally different story in Europe where the 3er is still in demand with the best selling line being the sportline. Same goes for the F20.

In regards to Audi. BMW are in a product offensive and keeping very much to reality. Cars like the 1er 3dr , 3er Touring , 1er CST are very much in demand in Europe and witness the success of the B-Klasse mercedes and why Audi have moved forward on a MPV space vehicle for the A3. Next year alone there is the 4er and 2er , A new M3 and the next generation X5 and the BMW i3 which will become the most-have modern car when it hits the market. Next year also sees the next generation MINI which is absolute fantastic to drive and further proves the A1 is an Audi with little substance. And then we have the Rolls-Royce twins the Ghost Coupe and DropHead Coupe which will fill the void for a powerful V12 Coupe. And a very important look ahead to a new luxury BMW model which is important for the premium end of the market.

Audi are not BMW. no matter how they dress up the marketing , most of their product line-up offers any substance in driver communication.
No matter what Car and who? says an Audi S6 has come in last in comparisons in Europe because of its average ability.
They also said the X6 looks like an automotive duck-billed platypus, not bad for a successful concept that has not sent competitors to develop their own take but spawn a little brother, another car that is aimed at growth.
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