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      11-08-2018, 09:30 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ScottAndrew View Post
The 2 GC (or 1/2 sedan for China, India, Mexico, Thailand etc) on the UKL platform will fix that.
Yes, just as I said, they will try to fix that next year. But, as I also said, it may be too little too late.

They are just now touching 300hp with the small vehicle platform, while the competition is about to blow past 400hp. They put all their M eggs in the the I6 basket, and they decided they only needed the M2 which is a great performance coupe that's trying to woo people who want a performance sedan or SUV. It doesn't matter how good the product is when its not the right form factor for a large portion of the enthusiast market.

Despite claims by and efforts from past M bosses to keep it from happening, they dogmatically thumbed their noses at high performance vehicles with east/west engines while their counterparts embraced them with open arms.

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However it's not really a car for the US.
That's not correct. The 2 GC absolutely is a global vehicle with its sites set on the US small premium sedan market.

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Perhaps there would be some interest in it in highly urbanised areas; but a conventional gas-powered 2 series with a 3 or 4-pot engine and 1.5 to 2 litres costing $40-45,000 will go down like a lead balloon.
It has worked for Audi and Mercedes. It may indeed be too late to ride that wave. We shall see.

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I don't agree that BMW fell asleep with performance versions of the hatches.
You opened the discussion about the US market. We don't have the 1 Series hatchbacks here, performance versions or otherwise.

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The current x40i is very competitive and will - as it should - remain more niche than very hot versions of shopping cars from others, assuming they build on a CLAR-based 2 series.
This part is unclear, but if I interpret you correctly, you are saying that the next 1 Series performance hatchback will remain popular if it is built on CLAR. Well guess what? It won't be. It is moving to UKL, and now what? The switch to this platform could have come with a silver lining if BMW had a true M chassis and engine ready so as to realize improved performance from the last generation. But they don't.

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Of course BMW is capable of building a very, very hot "four". It's deep in their DNA, deeper than the others in fact. They didn't want to until now.
Nah. They didn't think they needed to. And they do not have a "very, very hot 'four'". They have a passable mid-range performance I4, that's it.

Be it the result of too much turnover in the leadership of their performance arm, or simple arrogance, they absolutely did drop the ball. If they hadn't dropped the ball, we'd have 300hp and 400hp small BMW sedans and SUVs on BMW lots today.

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Besides, sales of the halo products are pretty small compared to the top models; as you say it's a small selection of vocal enthusiasts for whom the range revolves around the top end. (BTW here the x28i and x30i are also "top end" and quite rare.)
The entire point of halo products is to build credibility and get people into the dealership. They are not intended to sell in large numbers, they are intended to market the brand and get people excited which drives sales of the whole product lineup. The fact that you keep enthusiasts willing to reach for the high end models happy makes it a double win.
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      11-08-2018, 10:47 AM   #24
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so to expound on my semi-flippant comment above, i think the premise of this thread is faulty. the cars BMW are building do not diverge from the needs and wants of most of its customers. their sales figures are the best proof of that.

the curmudgeons on the forum (i put myself in this group) are not their priority anymore. sure, they'd like to keep as many of us as possible, and they will try to throw us a bone here and there like the M2 and the F8x CS and GTS...but they won't be maniacal about designing their products for us. that's truly why they keep missing the mark, in my opinion.

right now they are attempting to play both sides of the fence, which is to try to keep their brand as "the ultimate driving machine" while in reality trying to sell tens of thousands of cars to people who really want a more luxe Nissan Altima or Maxima. and that's fair enough, although bitterly disappointing.

really, the biggest threat to BMW US sales is the increasing cost of money and the threat it poses to BMW's ability to push sales through lease subsidies.
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      11-08-2018, 11:54 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
BMW doesn't focus on "selling" new cars to customers in the US anymore since the majority of customers lease their products. BMW vies with Infinity for the title of the most leased brand in the USA at just over 60% overall. As MSRP goes up, the lease penetration does also, such that in some markets the more expensive models might have lease rates of 80+%.

IMO, this "lease customer" is a far, far different one than the traditional purchase customer of the old days. They are essentially like a boutique rental car business customer. They want the latest technology, styling, status (apparently huge emphasis on that one), etc, with no care at all for what traditional BMW buyers have sought after in the past. Track performance? No care. Steering feel? Only if it's light and no trouble to turn. Etc. They also have zero care for how the cars are designed for maintainability nor long term reliability. They especially have zero thought for repair costs out of warranty (lease) period. The latter being the reason something like an Alpina B7 7-series can depreciate over $100k in value in a relatively short period of time.

If the majority of your customers are leasing with no care for many of these formerly important variables, what do you do? Ignore them? I think what they've done is cater to that lease customer and build cars to make it through a CPO warranty period so they can extract value from them at their dealers a second time after coming off that first lease. After that, who cares.

As interest rates come off 5000+ (all known and guessed history) lows, a lot of business plans predicated on the past 10 years of central bank manipulations are falling apart. This of course is the point in time you depart your exec job with a pat on the back for a job well done in the recent past and a huge payout.
Except in recent years BMW in US has been cutting back in lease incentives. It's significantly higher to lease the same BMW now compared to 2016.
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      11-13-2018, 11:46 PM   #26
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Every manufacturer has a niche. While Ford makes overall quality products for the price, it is obvious there #1 product they concentrate on is the full size pickup market. And it shows. Anyone that has been in the new F150 (especially the Raptor) can see why this is the best selling truck. Sure there are Titans and ridgelines and Tundras. All are fine quality trucks from reputable manufacturers, but they don't stand out like a Raptor. While Dodge makes a quality pickup, it is clear their success is in the muscle car market with the Hellcats. Sure, the Shelby and the Camaro ZL1s are great muscle cars but they still don't carry that niche of the ultimate muscle car (think Dodge Demon). BMW has become more a luxury brand that is still a drivers car for its niche. With changing demographics, not everyone wants that.

I remember when I bought my first BMW. It was a 2000 323Ci. I loved that car. It was awesome and fun and so classy looking. There seemed to be a prestige of owning any BMW. Now it seems as the standard BMW is just average. Maybe it's because there are so many more options with competitors. Let's be honest. US cars of the 90s were horrible. They big 3 have come a long way in making something people want. Maybe another problem is over saturation of the M brand. I remember it was rare to find an M car in show rooms. Now some dealers got several sitting out in the weather and elements. After owning 4 M cars, I've had a great experience. But after owning over 25 cars in my lifetime, I can say there are a lot of great options in today's market.

The competition is finally caught up with quality products, along with the arrival of new makers.
BMW is doing what it can to pick up new market share where they also can be competitive to broaden its base so that it doesn't become irrelevant overall.
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      11-14-2018, 04:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Yes, just as I said, they will try to fix that next year. But, as I also said, it may be too little too late.
A small sedan like the 2GC goes down well in the USA and China. Do you think consumers care that Audi and M-B came out with something in a similar form factor on an econo-platform before? I don't.
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They are just now touching 300hp with the small vehicle platform, while the competition is about to blow past 400hp. They put all their M eggs in the the I6 basket, and they decided they only needed the M2 which is a great performance coupe that's trying to woo people who want a performance sedan or SUV. It doesn't matter how good the product is when its not the right form factor for a large portion of the enthusiast market.
In overall sales volumes it doesn't matter that much in because the enthusiast market is pretty small... I suppose I don't understand the criticism of BMW for making a coupé when the thesis is that no-one wants a coupé. It's been a good seller for an essentially niche vehicle, and how good it is vs. the TT, Cayman, Alpine and others is critical. It's not the making it a coupé that's "wrong", it's not putting that engine in a truck!
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That's not correct. The 2 GC absolutely is a global vehicle with its sites set on the US small premium sedan market.
Global and with its sights set on the US small premium sedan market? I don't understand you.
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You opened the discussion about the US market. We don't have the 1 Series hatchbacks here, performance versions or otherwise.
You hypothesised that BMW was asleep at the wheel. Yet up until a month ago when the 1 was discontinued, they own the hot-hatch market here; the M140i is a performance bargain and the straight-six that you denigrated above (I thought BMW fans were happy that BMW stuck with that form factor?) is a great differentiator.
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This part is relatively unclear, but if I interpret you correctly, you are saying that the next 1 Series performance hatchback will remain popular if it is built on CLAR. Well guess what? It won't be. It is moving to UKL, and now what? The switch to this platform could have come with a silver lining if BMW had a true M chassis and engine ready so as to realize improved performance from the last generation. But they don't.
Your interpretation was incorrect. I said that the x40i was top of the tree and that I believed the 2 coupe, which will continue to be based on the CLAR platform, will remain competitive. It's still about the best coupe you can buy for the money - again, on this side.

I was aware that the 1 and 2GC will fit on the UKL.
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Nah. They didn't think they needed to. And they do not have a "very, very hot 'four'". They have a passable mid-range performance I4, that's it.
Go back and read again. I said they were capable of it. Look at their history. The fact that BMW does not produce a 400 bhp four-cylinder motor does not mean they will never produce one. If you doubt they are capable, then so be it.
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Be it the result of too much turnover in the leadership of their performance arm, or simple arrogance, they absolutely did drop the ball. If they hadn't dropped the ball, we'd have 300hp and 400hp small BMW sedans and SUVs on BMW lots today.
X3 M40i - 382 bhp?

You're right, there's no mini-sedan yet. There was one, the 3 series, but everyone wanted it bigger and plusher.

Back to the original premise: what you need are small sedans and SUVs with 400 bhp+, presumably for going 155 mph in Montana. Sales of those in Germany, for example, are tiny. They all have 1.8 and 2.0 petrols and diesels. You also need electric vehicles like the Tesla, and enthusiasts need extreme track cars you basically trailer to the circuit. What China needs is quite different; what Europe needs is obviously different again. I see absolutely lots of reasons why BMW would consider splitting its product development off for the NA market, as it did with China, and I would put money on it.

Last edited by ScottAndrew; 11-14-2018 at 05:32 AM.
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      11-14-2018, 04:36 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by ScottAndrew View Post
A small sedan like the 2GC goes down well in the USA and China. Do you think consumers care that Audi and M-B came out with something in a similar form factor on an econo-platform before? I don't.
First of all, these are global products that, as has been pointed out already, *are* selling well in the US. As I’ve said, the solution is to build the right products period, and bring those to the US like Audi and Mercedes have.

Secondly, as I also said, Audi and Mercedes have created excitement in their small car ranges with a full high performance line up. They didn’t do this just for the US, they did it for the brand globally, and then brought it to the US.

Third, being late has already hurt BMW in thousands of units of lost sales opportunity. And now they have to try to penetrate against the established players who already have more exciting versions of their small sedans than BMW will even release in their competing product’s lifecycle. It’s is elementary that coming late to the game with also-ran hadware is not an ideal spot to be in.

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In overall sales volumes it doesn't matter that much in because the enthusiast market is pretty small...
You leveraged the enthusiast market as a cornerstone of the argument in your opening post by citing the sentiments in this forum which is made up primarily of enthusiats and by listing vehicles which appeal to enthusiasts. If that market doesn’t matter, we can end the discussion based on you reneging on your original hypothesis.

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I suppose I don't understand the criticism of BMW for making a coupé when the thesis is that no-one wants a coupé.
I did not criticize that product, I praiesd it - “great performance coupe”.

I also did not say that no one wants a coupe. Clearly some people do want a high performance coupe, but it is just as clear that many more people want a high performance SUV or sedan.

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It's been a good seller for an essentially niche vehicle, and how good it is vs. the TT, Cayman, Alpine and others is critical. It's not the making it a coupé that's "wrong", it's not putting that engine in a truck!
Which is exactly the point I made, so we agree on that.

It is also exactly what Mercedes and Audi have - a small SUV with the same engine and chassis that their hotest small coupe and/or sedan have. And it’s not US product, it’s global product.

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Global and with its sights set on the US small premium sedan market? I don't understand you.
And that’s bacause you don’t understand the market. You want US specific products. But I am pointing out - and you are now acknowledging - global products from BMW’s competitors that sell well in the US, and also expose gaps in BMWs lineup that could be filled by global product like the truck that we agree above is missing.

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You hypothesised that BMW was asleep at the wheel. Yet up until a month ago when the 1 was discontinued, they own the hot-hatch market here; the M140i is a performance bargain
Again, it’s not a US product. You were explicit in your opening post - US market. Is it a good product? Absolutely.

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and the straight-six that you denigrated above (I thought BMW fans were happy that BMW stuck with that form factor?) is a great differentiator.
No, I did not denegrate the engine. I was only critical of BMW’s two-platform strategy which has kept and continues to keep the high performance engine and chassis they use in their small M coupe from being shared in their other form factor small vehicles - namely their SUVs, sedans, and next generation hatchbacks - and for not developing an alternate high performance solution that could be used instead in those vehicles.

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Go back and read again. I said they were capable of it.
What you said was “until now”. But they do not have such an engine “now”, nor do they have any intention of offering one in the current and upcoming generation of small vehicles.

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Look at their history. The fact that BMW does not produce a 400 bhp four-cylinder motor does not mean they will never produce one. If you doubt they are capable, then so be it.
I never asserted they do not have the capability. They obviously do. They just neglected to address this piece of the market. And yes, this is absolutely because they’ve dropped the ball.

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X3 M40i - 382 bhp?
Wrong segment, wrong size. It’s no more a small SUV than the 3 Series is a small sedan. And just as you pointed out with that vehicle, the X3 has grown larger. There are now passenger car products below the 3, and there are SUVs below the X3 for that same reason.

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Back to the original premise: what you need are small sedans and SUVs with 400 bhp+, presumably for going 155 mph in Montana. Sales of those in Germany, for example, are tiny. They all have 1.8 and 2.0 petrols and diesels.
We have those products already, just not from BMW. And so does Europe. Yes, they sell in small numbers - and yes, to enthusiasts, like the ones you brought up in your OP - in the US market just as they do everywhere else.

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You also need electric vehicles like the Tesla,
As do many other markets which is why every manufacturer developing premium EVs is targetting a global audience. Every premium EV that has launched this year in the US is a global product. The same is true for next year.

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and enthusiasts need extreme track cars you basically trailer to the circuit.
They do? And can you give examples that exist today? Or do none exist, but you think only BMW needs these to succeed in the US - no one else does?

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What China needs is quite different; what Europe needs is obviously different again.
As I said in a prior post, the only thing significant that is specific to that market from premium manufacturers like BMW and their competitors is long wheel base form factor versions of existing global vehicles.

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I see absolutely lots of reasons why BMW would consider splitting its product development off for the NA market, as it did with China, and I would put money on it.
I predict the exact opposite. BMW will not launch US specific vehicles. And furthermore any premium vehicle company who successfully navigates the disruption from EV/AV that is reshaping the automotive industry today and over the next few decades will do so with global product.
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      11-14-2018, 04:52 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
so to expound on my semi-flippant comment above, i think the premise of this thread is faulty. the cars BMW are building do not diverge from the needs and wants of most of its customers. their sales figures are the best proof of that.
Indeed, but the sales of 3 and to a lesser extent, the 5 are declining at an alarming pace in America and Americans are buying Tesla. That suggests they need something else. However, the area-specific approach has already worked well in part. The 1er hatch is popular in its segment (and the M140i generally considered the best, on the basis of its engine and unique-in-class layout), and the 1er sedan has been so popular in China that it's now to be sold elsewhere in SE Asia and Mexico, so I read.

Both cars that would have US BMW track enthusiasts spluttering with disgust into the their beer, it has to be said .
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...sure, they'd like to keep as many of us as possible, and they will try to throw us a bone here and there like the M2 and the F8x CS and GTS...but they won't be maniacal about designing their products for us. that's truly why they keep missing the mark, in my opinion.
Not getting you - they throw you a bone with something you consider mild and not track-dedicated, such as the GTS, and keep missing the mark? So if they made basically racing cars that are track-ready but could be driven legally on the road (think KTM Crossbow or Noble), they'd really hit the mark?
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right now they are attempting to play both sides of the fence, which is to try to keep their brand as "the ultimate driving machine" while in reality trying to sell tens of thousands of cars to people who really want a more luxe Nissan Altima or Maxima. and that's fair enough, although bitterly disappointing.
They are - but they have to, to stay in business. It's not a good place to be, to want a brand you like to build only cars that are so focused, so personal for you, that do to so would actually cause them to fail. If you will only ever feel bitter disappointment about something they have to do as an economic imperative, then isn't life too short to continue to follow them, haranguing them for building 1.5 litre hatchbacks and luxury sedans instead of, say, an ultra-extreme, laser-focused track weapon for production series racing?

I just wonder if people who liked the M1 when it came out all lined up to denigrate BMW for producing the 316. Actually I know they didn't because I just remembered, I was there...
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      11-15-2018, 08:23 AM   #30
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Again, my point is that neither carving out a US niche nor chasing Tesla is going to "fix" BMW for the enthusiast crowd that criticizes them. We want a modern 2002 or E46 M3, which won't sell well in today's United States.

So then they build something like the F30, which is not good and prevents the M models it's based on from being good. As opposed to say, the e46, which was so good that it made its ultimate form, the M3 CSL, legendary.

Finally, what you call "haranguing", I call customer feedback. This is one of the largest bmw forums in the world, and an extremely valuable source of customer feedback that they get for free. I hope they're at least reading, even if they ultimately choose not to do anything about it. And ultimately I will make a choice with my wallet like I always do

Btw, dropping the whole "if you don't like it, why don't you leave" "argument" is a really poor way to continue a discussion. Are you not really interested in having one, or seeing differing viewpoints?
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      11-15-2018, 09:01 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth One View Post

Finally, what you call "haranguing", I call customer feedback. This is one of the largest bmw forums in the world, and an extremely valuable source of customer feedback that they get for free.

I hope they're at least reading, even if they ultimately choose not to do anything about it.
Meh, you have to remember that those on a dedicated BMW forum are going to be a very small minority of the overall customer base, not to mention that the bulk of the members here did not buy a new BMW, but rather a used one, for which BMW makes no money and doesn't really care about.

There are currently about 377,000 members here, but if you look at the last 20 years or so, BMW has sold around 48 million cars. That means that we represent only about 0.7% of the customer base, and that is factoring in used cars. I imagine that for new car sales, the percentage is even smaller.

BMW is never going to spend so much R&D to cater to less than 1% of the customer base, it would just be bad business.

I highly doubt they spend any significant amount of time looking at any forums, let alone this one. I could be wrong, though. Who knows.
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      11-15-2018, 10:11 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usshelena725 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth One View Post

Finally, what you call "haranguing", I call customer feedback. This is one of the largest bmw forums in the world, and an extremely valuable source of customer feedback that they get for free.

I hope they're at least reading, even if they ultimately choose not to do anything about it.
Meh, you have to remember that those on a dedicated BMW forum are going to be a very small minority of the overall customer base, not to mention that the bulk of the members here did not buy a new BMW, but rather a used one, for which BMW makes no money and doesn't really care about.

There are currently about 377,000 members here, but if you look at the last 20 years or so, BMW has sold around 48 million cars. That means that we represent only about 0.7% of the customer base, and that is factoring in used cars. I imagine that for new car sales, the percentage is even smaller.

BMW is never going to spend so much R&D to cater to less than 1% of the customer base, it would just be bad business.

I highly doubt they spend any significant amount of time looking at any forums, let alone this one. I could be wrong, though. Who knows.
You could be right, who knows? This all might just be pissing into the wind. And just to be super clear, your point about BMW not catering to the 1% is the same point I've been making in all my posts on this thread.

I work in marketing for a company that spends tens of millions of dollars a year in market research. The kind of immediate product feedback that happens here is pure gold - and it's free. You just have index it against other research to make sure you're not just listening to a bunch of outliers.

My company has "fanatics" and brand loyalists too, and we listen to them quite a bit. Even if their viewpoints can be extreme, they really care about our products and our brand, and really help us raise the bar with both their positive and negative comments.

I think it would be really foolish for BMW to alienate and not even listen to people who care enough about their products to discuss them on the internet all day. But I don't run their marketing department
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      11-15-2018, 10:21 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
You could be right, who knows? This all might just be pissing into the wind. And just to be super clear, your point about BMW not catering to the 1% is the same point I've been making in all my posts on this thread.

I work in marketing for a company that spends tens of millions of dollars a year in market research. The kind of immediate product feedback that happens here is pure gold - and it's free. You just have index it against other research to make sure you're not just listening to a bunch of outliers.

My company has "fanatics" and brand loyalists too, and we listen to them quite a bit. Even if their viewpoints can be extreme, they really care about our products and our brand, and really help us raise the bar with both their positive and negative comments.

I think it would be really foolish for BMW to alienate and not even listen to people who care enough about their products to discuss them on the internet all day. But I don't run their marketing department


All fair points, and I am not disagreeing that BMW should at least spend some time investigating the opinions of buyers on forums such as this one. I am just stating that it is unfortunately unlikely.

Remember, BMW is an enormous company which spends not 10 million, but nearly 10 BILLION dollars a year in marketing. When a company gets that large, the focus becomes less on the minutia, such as a random internet forum, and more on the global branding in general. Not saying that is the right thing to do, but it is an unfortunate reality.
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      11-16-2018, 09:58 PM   #34
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After 30 years of BMW ownership and 3 of 4 cars bought new, I doubt BMW will get my new business anytime soon. But...

I think BMW should follow Ford and GM's formula and build a modern-replica of the E30. NA straight 6, manual trans, rear drive. 3,000 pounds. Tall greenhouse. No idrive or effing dash screen. And I'm in.
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      11-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usshelena725 View Post
Meh, you have to remember that those on a dedicated BMW forum are going to be a very small minority of the overall customer base, not to mention that the bulk of the members here did not buy a new BMW, but rather a used one, for which BMW makes no money and doesn't really care about.

There are currently about 377,000 members here, but if you look at the last 20 years or so, BMW has sold around 48 million cars. That means that we represent only about 0.7% of the customer base, and that is factoring in used cars. I imagine that for new car sales, the percentage is even smaller.

BMW is never going to spend so much R&D to cater to less than 1% of the customer base, it would just be bad business.

I highly doubt they spend any significant amount of time looking at any forums, let alone this one. I could be wrong, though. Who knows.
100% disagree with this statement. BMW has long been known to support its cars for 20 years or longer. I have a 1997 Z3, which I can virtually get any part for it from BMW; it's been that way for the 21 years I've owned it, as it was for my '89 E30. BMW makes huge money from 2nd and 3rd tier ownership; it always has. BMW makes a good deal of it profits via leasing and the 1st tier ownership market thereafter. BMW practically invented the car leasing business model in the 1990's.
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A manual transmission can be set to "comfort", "sport", and "track" modes simply by the technique and speed at which you shift it; it doesn't need "modes", modes are for manumatics that try to behave like a real 3-pedal manual transmission. If you can money-shift it, it's a manual transmission.
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      11-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #36
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Somehow most manufacturers correlate vehicle size with level of luxury. What if you want a luxurious car that is smaller? Not everyone likes driving an X5 or a 7. I dropped my car for service yesterday and the dealer offered me a brand new X5 as a loaner. I turned it down. They looked at me as if I were on drugs. I chose an X1 instead. Very pleasant vehicle. I had already driven a 2019 X5 and although it's very nice, it is JUUUGE. I wish I could get the quality of materials of the 7 or 640i GT in the smaller cars like the X1/2, 2/3. It should at least be an option that you 'check' even if it adds a few grand to the price. That would be the best strategy I think. Go cheap as the default configuration but allow people to opt-up all the way to super luxurious regardless of model designation. That is the way to win in my book.
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