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BMW 5 Series GT sales disappointing – 3 Series Wagon might stay

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According to Automotive News, BMW of North America has been disappointed by the sales of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Introduced last year as a …

According to Automotive News, BMW of North America has been disappointed by the sales of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Introduced last year as a replacement for the new 5 Series Wagon, the 5 GT has been one of the most criticized products in the past years.

With a design idea starting from inside the vehicle, the exterior was a combination between a crossover, like the X6, and a sports wagon. Based on initial studies conducted by BMW, the results showed that the 5 Series GT is a vehicle appealing to those that are looking for luxury, space and performance, but are not willing to spend money on a full 7 Series nor any SAV models. Adrian van Hooydonk confirmed that the study revealed an aging customer base who find the traditional seating position of the BMW 5 Series Sedan too sporty, but at the same time consider the elevated seating in the X5 or X6 too high.

BMW 5 Series GT sales disappointing   3 Series Wagon might stay

The idea seem to have backfired. According to BMW of North America CEO Jim O’Donnell, the sales of the 5 GT in the U.S. have been lower than expected, and even more interesting, the 5 GT has stolen customers from the 7 Series family. O’Donnell said he expected the car to attract 5 Series Wagon buyers instead.

Furthermore, some of the 5 Series Wagon customers went with a competitor car from Mercedes-Benz.

“The disappointment I have is that I thought a lot of our 5-series station wagon customers would go with the GT,” O’Donnell says. “In point of fact, that is not happening. We have lost those customers to the competition — mainly to Mercedes-Benz.

“The GT has attracted 7- and 5-series customers and conquests,” he says, “but not the station wagon customer we had hoped.”

In Florida, 10 percent of BMW 7-series owners have replaced their cars with the 5-series GT, O’Donnell says.

US pricing for the 550i GT starts at $65,275, while the 740i sells for $71,525.

Auto News reports that BMW executives sales forecast for the 5 GT was 4,000 to 8,000 units annually. BMW sold 2,848 GTs in 2010 and just 720 in the first four months of 2011. Sales of the 5-series wagon peaked at 2,351 units in 2005.

For the enthusiasts, these might be good news. O’Donnell says he doesn’t want to lose wagon sales to Mercedes-Benz so BMW will keep the 3 Series wagon in its lineup. Past rumors said the new 3 Series Wagon will be replaced by a 3 Series Gran Turismo, a hypothesis that seem unlikely now.

“We are not giving up the 3-series wagon because if you give it up, they will go straight to the competition,” he says.

As for bringing back the 5 Series Wagon, O’Donnell says it may be too late for this generation.

[Source: Automotive News ]

  • subtotal

    It is never too late…to correct a bad decision, though I think BMW is making money from Touring in Europe.

  • Nizer

    No surprise here.  They release the most attractive 5-series wagon ever and then tell the US they can’t have it.  Meanwhile they stick us with this goat-ugly boat.  BMW completely missed this call and whoever made it is hopefully out the door.   With Audi not bringing the new A6 wagon to the US, Mercedes has a wide open playing field and they’re lapping it up with the E350 4Matic wagon.  Way to go BMW and Audi.

    • T.

      It is actually a win-win situation for both BMW and Audi because customers are choosing the relevant higher priced SAV/SUV in the same segment instead of the Touring.
      If customers are faced with a choice of the Touring/Avant or the Q or X then they will take the SAV/SUV everytime.

      That is what happened to the US Market which now sees Audi , BMW and Volvo having removed their Touring/Avant/wagon from the US Market. Because they went out and got the X5 over the 5er Touring , Q7 instead of the A6 Avant and the XC90 over the V70.
      Currently the BMW X3 is completely outselling the 3er Touring as is the Q5 over the A4 Avant.

      Advantage Mercedes-Benz?  E-Klasse T-Modell sales have been stagnant like other Premium Wagons.
      Expect more sales to be lost when Mercedes-Benz introduce the all new ML-Klasse in the last quarter of the year.

    • Br

      Everyone knows that this would happen!  The 5 series is totally crap!  Hideous exterior especially its bottom part!  I definitely agree that it is the ugliest car in its class. why not just make it look like cars like cls and a5 sportsback?  The reason why they lose 7 series customers is because BMW have put the best interior in a crappy 5 GT instead!  Such stupid decision..  Just hope that there won’t be a 3 series GT~

  • LexusLVR

    If BMW wants to learn how to make a proper minivan they should contact Toyota (Sienna) or Nissan (Quest). The new Nissan Quest is particularly awesome and would destroy a porky 5er GT on a racetrack. Believe it or not but the Nissan Quest is like the GT-R of the minivans while the Toyota Sienna is like a Supra. 

    • Clinton964

      1. 5GT is suppose to be a minivan substitute.
      2. The Quest doesn’t even come close to the performance of a 535i GT. 

      • Clinton964

        NOT suppose to be a minivan subsititute

      • Clinton964

        NOT suppose to be a minivan subsititute

  • Efozab

    The Gt is pure classic

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/La-Ma/1681833435 La Ma

      it should be already a classic – aka. no longer made.  most likely the ugliest car ever made by BMW.
      Kind a like az Azztek (Pontiac Aztek) which almost single handedly destroyed Pontiac’s new-age image.

      The 5 GT is anything but a GT (when a GT mentioned, I think Ferrari GT’s ASton Martin GT’s and other classical GT’s which BMW had, the E31 8 series.)  more like a hatchback 5 door sedan which is not good looking nor particularly useful. 

      Bad idea executed in a wrong way. Overpriced underachiever. Can we say more negative about it ? How about that it looks UGLY…. just like the copycat Accord 5 door thingy which not so surprisingly also a tanker. Honda says, its sales have been lacking the pace of other wagons and SUV’s but mostly because people don’t know what it is.
      Same here, people who want a 5 or 7 hate it, people who want a 5 wagon hate it even more.

      stop selling it, replace it with the best looking BMW wagon ever the F10 wagon and call it an experiment failed attempt.

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  • XC

     Great car, beautifully executed; but sadly it’s simply not consistent with BMWs appeal and philosophy. I would simply never ever buy a BMW like this. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511315254 Mike Slade

     I had a 2008 535 xi wagon.  Fantastic car.  When it was time to trade in/up, one look at this car and I almost puked.  The Audi version, the A7, is beautiful.  This one is so butt ugly.  One look at the Audi A7 shows you that it wasn’t the idea that was flawed, it was the execution.  I bought a beautiful new X3.  Awesome car.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/La-Ma/1681833435 La Ma

      I wouldn’t call the A7 a beautiful car either but certainly much much better then the 5GT. The original CLS was a beautiful car. The new one sadly getting closer to the 5GT.

      The X3 is a good looking cross-over for sure !

  • Rahul

    Mr. O’Donnell, it is never too late to bring the current generation of the 5 series Wagon to the United States. The sedan is already being sold in the states so the safety aspect of the car is already taken care off. All you need to do is recertify the engine, but wait, the 5 series wagon uses the same engine from the sedan, so that problem is also taken care of. The only thing that is blocking the car from coming state side is your ego. Get over your theory about the Gran Turismo variant is a replacement for the wagons. The wagon is unique in its own manner, low volume means better resale value and the vehicle will be more exclusive than the sedan. So Jim, please get over your hypothesis and bring the damn 5 series wagon to the US or sit in your plump office and watch us wagon owners knock on Mercedes Benz’s door and by their E Class wagons instead. The descision is up to you, act quick and bring the wagon before the year’s end, or watch your customers go to Mercedes Benz. 

    • Rahul

      Forgot to add a “u’ in buy. Sorry for that. 

    • T.

       The 5er Touring is a completely different vehicle from the sedan concerning the safety aspects and has to be assessed individually. Which is an expensive process,

      BMW pulled the 5er Touring from the US Market because nobody was buying them and felt that it did not justify the balance of federalizing the car for a handful of sales because that is what Premium wagons receive in the US . They are not on the high sales as seen within Europe.  Again the same reason why the new Audi A6 Avant is not coming to the US either.

      It is not a question of ego it is due to the market and consumer trends, and Munich were justified in not launching a car which would not have a success rate on the level of Europe.
      Mercedes will offer the choice of the wagon and the all-new ML-Klasse but the ML will outsell it.

      As of the 3er Touring ? It was originally not going to be federalized and I cannot say whether they have over turned that original strategy.
      Again considering the X3 is in strong demand which is taking nearly all sales from the E91 3er Touring and then in the US BMW will eventually get around to introducing the X1 which is on a hiatus because of strong demand in Europe with some countries on waiting lists up to eight months. and X1 is  fast approaching sales of 200,000 units since it’s November 2009 introduction.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/La-Ma/1681833435 La Ma

        the reason the wagon sold poorly is BMW’s own fault. The E61 was sold as 4×4 only and no 2WD variant ever. Before that a E39 was sold as 525/528 and 540 but no 530 version. They always missed the best of both side.
        A wagon needs to be quick and elegant but also free of fuzz and price gauging additions.  Currently I would say from a US only models – the 528 and 535D with 2WD only would the best bet.
        If I see it on a global market then the 520d makes the most sense.
        Leave the sunroof, navigation, parktronic HUD etc senseless extras optional and the wagon will sell.
        I’d love to buy a basic 5 series wagon to replace my 528iT. Why a basic car ? Because for the 70mph speed limit anything would do and I want the practicality and style that goes with the wagon. I want 2WD as there is absolutely no need for a 4WD where I live ad besides that a winter tire worth lot more then 4WD for most people. I do not need sunroof and HUD as I have never ever used either one.
        I also do not have a need for a car like the 5GT which was lot more expensive then a basic 5 series.
        The wagon looks better then the 5 sedan and lightyears better then 5GT.

        • Clinton964

          wagon sold poorly in NA is not BMW’s fault.  Is just the way the market is.  Americans have a obsession with SUV for the past 20yrs.  SUV killed wagon sales.  I took am disappointed that there is no 5 wagon, as I have a 535xiT now.  But after taking a 535xiGT for a weekend, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that car. Is a niche vehicle, you either get it or you don’t.  Unfortunately for BMW, most people don’t, due to poor market perception, reception, and needs.  

      • Lekkousa

        The X3 or similar is not a replacement for the Touring/Wagon IMHO.
        I’ve owned 2 3series wagons, and loved them both! They are far more driver involved and sportier than any X3 with its “slushbox”!
        The Tourings are a utilitarian vehicle for someone who still appreciates competent handling.

  • Rahul

    Mr. O’Donnell, please swallow your pride and bring the 5 series wagon before it is really too late. 

  • Badger

     The idea of the Gt was kinda flawed. BMW would have made an A7/ CLS competitor instead. The GT design is just ugly. No one would ever want to look at the back of the car. Even today buyers would buy the 2009 BMW 535xi wagon than the GT. 

  • Sajan

     I find it interesting how the market in the UK is VERY different from the market in the US. Here in the UK, if someone wants to buy an estate (wagon) they buy a wagon. If they want the 4×4, they buy the 4×4. Same with the 7 series, if the person wants one, they will get one. They won’t even consider the 5gt, unless they actually want the 5gt

  • Nnnn

    For the love of god, O’Donnell, don’t do this to the 3 series.  Hatchback and versatility Yes, but forcing people to go to a crossover to get it, No.

  • Nnnn

    For the love of god, O’Donnell, don’t do this to the 3 series.  Hatchback and versatility Yes, but forcing people to go to a crossover to get it, No.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EJ6URKRKDJRWM76IDT2DHX366A Jom Beam

    I think EFOZA was the only fan of the GT…. lol

    Seriously though, I’m not sure BMW markets the ‘sport wagons’ well enough.

  • Sajan

    Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems like over in the States there isn’t much choice when it comes to the european cars. For example, over there you have ‘luxury packages’ and ‘sport packages’ etc. Over here we don’t really have those, we just have a huge options list, and we can chose an SE car or M sport trimmed BMW in any engine, by which we have many to choose from, eg a 316d, 318d, 320d, 320d, 325d, 330d, 335d, 318i, 320i, 325i, 330i, 335i

  • Sajan

    Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems like over in the States there isn’t much choice when it comes to the european cars. For example, over there you have ‘luxury packages’ and ‘sport packages’ etc. Over here we don’t really have those, we just have a huge options list, and we can chose an SE car or M sport trimmed BMW in any engine, by which we have many to choose from, eg a 316d, 318d, 320d, 320d, 325d, 330d, 335d, 318i, 320i, 325i, 330i, 335i

  • bmw99

    5 doors does not equal luxury

  • Titaniumfive

    I think the biggest flaw in the US is that wagons are viewed as “uncool” while SUV’s are the cool car to have. 
    The same goes for manuals, as they are becoming less and less popular, mostly for the convenience factor.  

    I can understand BMW’s reluctance to bring over the wagon if they have to jump thru hurdles to get it approved, but maybe this should be a prime opportunity to review the car legislation, as in safety features I think both the US and Europe are probably on par, why make car companies have to get approval/requirements for two different systems, when one can work fine.  We are a global market, make global rules.  
    I am on the market for a new car, and stopped at the BMW dealer.  “Sorry no wagon except 3 series, and get it soon, before they are discontinued.  How about a X5?”  They don’t even promote much of the GT, it really isn’t as spacious.  I like sporty cars, but having only the wallet for one, a 5 wagon is sporty and roomy for my needs.  Can’t wait for the Saab 95 wagon, manual, roomy and sporty…just hope the company is around for when I need to purchase.

  • Lekkousa

    Great news RE 3 series wagon!
    Now if we could get them to add the diesel to the wagon, wow, they would own that segment and really steamroller the competition!

  • Big

    The 5 GT’s sales have NOT been disappointing given that BMW never intended this car to be a mass seller. Clearly this US CEO is out of tune with his boss’s aims.

    His comments confirm that BMW’s US division is run by out of touch individuals which perhaps explains why BMW is losing to Audi in the US faster than anywhere else in the world. I say he should be sent on a training course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cyril4j Cyril Bouteille

    Better late reckoning than never I guess! 
    It’s never too late to bring the F11 to the US for some competition to the S212, which took the lead in design and is currently owning the entire luxury wagon segment.

  • viper

    ok….l think 3gt will sell more than 5gt , simply because it will be cheaper , probably better looking I hope , honestly I dont like these gt bmws

  • http://twitter.com/mybeanus my_beanus

    What does Catherine Malandrino think?

  • Anonymous

    The 5 wagon in the EU is damn nice.  Way better looking than the 5 sedan.  It’s a shame we won’t get that car here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1842858183 Ahmad Haziq

    This 5GT is actually a very good car, it has everything from a touring, SUV, executive saloon and even coupe. Unfortunately, not many are interested with it probably because of the price and a bit of flaw in its design. So far in Malaysia there has been less than 10 units I’ve seen being driven though I believe there’s more. It ever is too late for BMW to return to the correct path but it is quite dissapointing to see such fantastic car like this being sold dissapointingly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1842858183 Ahmad Haziq

    This 5GT is actually a very good car, it has everything from a touring, SUV, executive saloon and even coupe. Unfortunately, not many are interested with it probably because of the price and a bit of flaw in its design. So far in Malaysia there has been less than 10 units I’ve seen being driven though I believe there’s more. It ever is too late for BMW to return to the correct path but it is quite dissapointing to see such fantastic car like this being sold dissapointingly.

    • Nnnn

      They have this new vegetable which has everything from a banana and everything from broccoli.   The banoccoli will satisfy every use of either;  you can slice it onto your cereal, and you can serve it steamed with cheese sauce.   The same people who want bananas, want broccoli, therefore they want the banoccoli.

  • Torsnow

    Good. They deserved to have their asses handed to them on the 5 GT. Hideous.

  • Torsnow

    Good. They deserved to have their asses handed to them on the 5 GT. Hideous.

  • Andreas

     nice!!!
    thanks God!!!
    It’s about time to remember that BMW produces the cars, not the marketing!
    Back to the roots!
    Back to the roots!

  • Roundelrider

    Can you say Aztec.  What a pig of a car.  The designers of this vehicle had to have been stoned when they desined it and the board that approved it must have been drunk.  They don’t get any uglier.  In fact this vehicle is so ugly it made the X6 look down right attractive and that something since it is the previous champion of ugly.   I have been driving BMW’s for over 20 years and am dyed in the wool Blue and White.  I am also a confirmed wagon owner because of my business and 4 legged companions that go everywhere with me and the GT5 doesn’t cover the bases and is quite honestly one of the ugliest vehicles produced by any manufacturer in a long time.  BMW doesn’t sell “tourings”(wagons if you are american) because they don’t advertise them.  Funny thing, marketing sells…..have you ever seen an ad for a BMW wagon?  Apparently BMW thinks that if they make it people will buy it and that just isn’t true.  BMW will never sell many of this turd because there just arn’t many that ugly appeals to.  And to boot performance on this pig is marginal at best.  Give me anouther E39 Touring with a V8 and lets move on.   

    • Car-fan

      GT550 will run circles around any e39 or e61 touring with the exception of the e61 M5 Touring not sold in the states

  • Shawnsmith

    Hello?  BMW makes a hideous looking crossover which is neither a good SUV nor a practical wagon, and they’re surprised that smart people who wanted a full on station wagon didn’t buy it?

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  • Tashmoo

    We were almost among the defectors to Mercedes.  We had a 2001 540 wagon and went to replace it in 2010 and were told by our dealer there were no more 5 wagons available and that our option was the GT or the X5.  We did not want an X and took one look at the GT and went to MB.  Just before dropping a deposit on the MB wagon we found one of the very last 535 wagons in the country and drove 500 miles to get it because our dealer would not work with us to bring it to New England.   
    Bottom line, GT is NEVER NEVER going to win over the wagon market.  BMW here is a hint; try to put your 85 lb Golden Retriever in the GT and if you do get him in there is no separation between the back and the passenger compartment.  I would bet that well over 50% of the wagon market schleps a dog around, check it out before you tell me the GT is a replacement for the wagon.

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