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Is BMW reaching beyond its limits?

Interesting | September 29th, 2008 by 11

Our friends at TopSpeed put together an interesting editorial on whether BMW is making a mistake and reaching out beyond its limits by introducing so …

Our friends at TopSpeed put together an interesting editorial on whether BMW is making a mistake and reaching out beyond its limits by introducing so many new models to the consumers. According to TopSpeed editor, Myles Kornblatt, might be on the wrong track following the steps of its number one competitor, Mercedes-Benz.

As Myles points out as well, in the late 80s, early 90s, Mercedes mainly built three passenger vehicles: medium sedan, large sedan, and sports car. Looking to gain new markets, Mercedes decided to introduce a variety of new classes, that were going to cover a broader range of customers’ preferences. New classes as A, C, G, SLK, and later GL, R were introduced, some of them successful, but others failing short of MB’s expectations.

BMW followed a similar trend but at a smaller scale and introduced new models, such as the X series, which proved to be quite successful (X5), the 1 Series hatchbacks and later on, the coupe versions.

But recently, there seems to be a larger push of new concepts produced by the Bavarian automaker, starting with the BMW X1, an urban sports activity vehicle, the Progressive Activity Sedan, a concept that it is still unclear which market will cover, the CS Concept, a rumored Z2 roadster and a future BMW X4, a smaller X6 with coupeish lines.

There is also another rumor of the 8 Series coming back to life, in a shape of a four-door high-end luxury sedan.

We can not wonder if BMW falling into the same trap as Mercedes-Benz did, despite the fact that most of their new cars are based on existing technology which is being reused as much as possible across the line.

Does BMW have a solid plan and a future successful marketing plan laid out, or …..?

I encourage you to read Myles’ analysis as well, he has some good points.

  • Gragop

    That article is spot on for what could possibly cause BMW to falter in the next few years. They’re trying so hard to expand into new segments to compete that something will eventually slip, whether it be quality or design or both. I know I didn’t like the X3 – I still don’t. The exterior is nice but the the interior is straight out of the E46 parts bin.

    Merc suffered because they were trying too hard to boost that bottom line( see Daimler merger around ’96-’97, cough cough) and become THE world player. In 2000, my family bought a fully loaded S500. You know what? The car was trash, the engine fan wasn’t even connected to the engine so the engine nearly overheated, the cellphone was reprogrammed more than 10 times and never worked correctly, the car continued to discharge and went thru 3 batteries in 2 weeks. It’s pathetic for a car to cost that much and give you those kinds of problems over only 3 year ownership period.

    Then we bought an E65 in 2002 so things went from bad to worse with the first launch of iDrive.

    If BMW isn’t careful it will fall into this same trap of pursuing sales and generating meaningless cars outside of it’s ethos but may be trendy. BMW seems to follow trends more these days than generate them and they’ll pay for it – look where model diversification, platform sharing and lack of attention to engineering got the Big 3, much less Merc.

  • Adam

    They’re trying to be all things to all people. First they started doing it by making the 3-series more of a luxury sedan rather than a sports sedan (to compete for those buyers of the MB 190E/C-class perhaps), so much so that BMW have had to add a new model (1 coupe) to re-enter the segment it left. I think of all the models they’ve added in the past 8 years, the X6 is the most ridiculous, and un-needed example. Yes… I’ve seen… 4 of them, one of them being today in fact.

    With the economy in the states (their biggest market) being the way it is, and with fuel prices remaining fairly high, BMW better tread lightly. Not sure if a new 8-series is what we need right now. A 3 with a diesel and/or 4-cylinder might be a better option.

  • Volan

    I have been saying this since the introduction of the X3 and the 1-series. They should learn from the similar mistakes the American companies have done. They are definitely off focus, and are proving such by allowing the X6, and its M version, while not producing an M3 CSL.

    The American way of the soccer mom with the powerful v8 SUV has found a new appeal. Too bad that American way is soon reaching its end as well (if not already).

  • Joe

    I guess time will tell. Regardless I think that they are all (Merc etc. included) extending a little to far out of their reach with Porsche recently purchasing VW and now Audi etc. Anyhow regardless of all this I trust and hope that BMW knows what it is doing because I would hate to see them go down the reverse path of VW and go too far down the value chain to the point that driving a BMW is just a normal affair and not an exclusive experience like it currently is.

    I will be a sad day when you the only reason you buy a 7 series is for the space and a few extra gadgets while you can get all the same stuff in an X1 … where is the exclusivity in that?

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @Volan: The M3 CSL is just delayed, it might still make in the near future. The X6 wasn’t as bad as I expected and i did see a purpose in it, but the X1?? Not sure yet

  • Gragop

    @Horatiu B.:

    Don’t tease us with news the CSL may still be alvie!

    Honestly, I think we’ll see it in 2 years…but I’m still horrified it was put on hold potentially due to developments of the M X6 and M X5.

  • Gragop

    *Alive…can’t type, got excited.

  • bsd107

    Remember, though, BMW NEEDS to produce more small cars to meet CAFE standards – MB was in the same predicament….

  • George

    I think it is about time BMW flexed their muscles and stopped being that conservative family owned company that it was it the 80s and mid 90s!

    Go BMW!

  • Gragop

    @George:

    By flexing its muscles you mean producing more metrosexual, soccer-mom-geared cars like they have lately?

  • George

    @Gragop: Which models are you refering too?

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