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.
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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.
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 ]