We just learned that Mercedes-Benz officially took the 2017 sales crown from both of its German rivals, BMW and Audi. Though, we know that was coming for some time, as BMW’s rivals from Stuttgart were gaining steam all year. Plus, it doesn’t help BMW’s cause that the Bavarian brand had two of the worst selling cars of 2017.
One of the BMWs that sold so poorly was the BMW i8. That makes sense, though, and likely was never expected to sell well. Firstly, it’s very expensive, starting at $143,400, and not a lot of customers have the money to afford such a car. Secondly, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, with its wild design, plug-in hybrid powertrain and mid-engine supercar layout. Plus, if someone is going to spend six-figures on a high-performance sports car, they’re likely going to go with a known commodity, like the Porsche 911, over something radical and relatively unproven, like the i8.
The second BMW that sold really poorly was the BMW Z4, which was to be expected as well. The Z4 is positively ancient. I remember when this current-generation Z4 debuted and it seems like a lifetime ago. When it first went on sale in 2009, it was actually a big hit. It featured wild looks, a slick folding metal roof and impressive dynamics. Now, though, those charms have waned and it’s no longer competitive. While it’s actually still fun to drive, especially with a six-speed manual, it’s just not able to compete with cars like the new Porsche 718 Boxster or the new Audi TT Roadster. Oh, and BMW actually stopped making it in 2016, so whatever sales occurred in 2017 were leftovers.
A new Z4 is on its way in 2018 and it looks incredibly promising, from both its stunning concept car and the spy photos and video we’ve seen. Along with the new Z4, the Bavarians will also be launching the new X2, 3 Series and 8 Series in 2018. So BMW has a good chance of regaining its sales crown this year.