By on December 20, 2016

2016 BMW X1 and 340i - Image: BMW USA

BMW continues to spend industry-leading levels of money to lure luxury car buyers in the United States. Yet November was the twelfth consecutive month in which sales at the BMW Group declined, year-over-year, in the U.S..

Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales at BMW are down 10 percent compared with the same period in 2015; Mini volume is off 11 percent.

According to TrueCar, however, no automaker is spending more in incentives, on a per vehicle basis, than BMW of North America. November 2016 incentives at the BMW Group jumped 25 percent compared with November 2015 yet sales fell 16 percent.

How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want?

MONEY
TrueCar says BMW’s incentive spend rose to $6,279 per vehicle in November 2016. No other major automaker’s incentive spend rose above $4,700 per vehicle last month.

Granted, BMW’s per-vehicle incentive spend was down in November, albeit slightly, compared with the previous month of October.

But November was still the tenth consecutive month in which BMW incentivized with more dollars per vehicle than any other automaker. And even when BMW’s higher prices are taken into account, only Kia (13.2 percent) and Nissan/Infiniti (15.8 percent) top the BMW Group (12.6 percent) in terms of incentive spending as a percentage of the average transaction price.

OUTPUT
Across the lineups at both BMW and Mini, sales are in decline. Passenger car volume at BMW is down 21 percent, not only because of 3 Series/4 Series sales that have tumbled by nearly 34,000 units compared with the first 11 months of 2015, but also because of a 5 Series that’s down 26 percent (and about to be replaced), a 46-percent dive in 6 Series sales, a 29-percent i3 downturn, and a 29-percent Z4 drop.

2016 Mini Clubman S All4 - Image: Mini USA

Mini’s vast car lineup — two and four-door Hardtop, Convertible, top-selling Clubman — recorded a 12-percent decline through 2016’s first 11 months despite the addition of more than 10,000 Clubman sales. Together with the Countryman (down 19 percent) approaching replacement and the Paceman disappearing, total Mini volume is down by more than 6,100 units in 2016. That places Mini on a track for its worst annual U.S. volume since 2011.

BMW’s sports-activity vehicles tell a different story. Although X4, X5, and X6 sales are collectively down 14 percent, surging X1 and X3 sales propelled the BMW utility vehicle division to a 13 percent increase so far this year.

BMW Group USA sales chart - Image: © The Truth About Cars

INVENTORY
Supply remains quite tight, however. Automotive News says BMW ended November with only 39 days of SAV supply, indicating a real lack of vehicles available for sale. The industry light truck average is 70 days.

Entering December, always the highest-volume month of the year for BMW, there are only 20,000 X1s, X3s, X4s, X5s, and X6s in stock.

In other words, customers are growing increasingly uninterested in the BMWs that BMW dealers have, no matter how steeply they’re discounted, while there aren’t enough of the BMWs that BMWs customers want.

These are not good problems to have. If BMW doesn’t turn the ship around with a startlingly strong December, sales in 2016 will fall to a four-year annual low even as overall industry pace toward record levels.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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71 Comments on “At BMW, Money Isn’t Moving Much Metal – U.S. Sales Are Falling As Discounts Rise...”


  • avatar
    hreardon

    Whole host of reasons: competition is getting much better, pricing and optioning, market saturation.

    BMW, outside of enthusiast spec’d 3 series and Ms, no longer really gets the heart pumping.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “How much cash on the hood do American luxury car buyers want?”

    When I’m looking at a $40K+ 328i with the interior build quality of a $20K Volkswagen, that is on the stale end of its model cycle competing against the attractive new A4 and C-Class, and which lacks exclusivity due to the rows of ex-lease 328s retailing for $24K that are essentially identical to the brand new ones, I think I’d want quite a lot. But I’m not a luxury buyer so I probably shouldn’t have answered.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      The fact that you basically have to spend $50k+ to not get a 4cyl BMW (or accept some stripper without the stuff you get in a $20k car) means I won’t be buying a BMW anytime soon. It’s even worse at Mercedes; you can spend $75k on a 4cyl E-class.

      NOPE.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        When did you drive the 4-cyl E-Class or BMW? I had a 5 series 4-cyl rental and with the piped in sound you absolutely couldn’t tell it was a 4. So, whenever I read someone going on about it on the internet, I’m fairly certain they have no idea what they are talking about.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          I tend to agree with JMO on the 4-cylinder battles. BMW’s current 4-pot is a really good engine that a large percentage of the buying public would be perfectly happy owning (leasing).

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Never open a window? Never walk up to your car idling? Either allows you to experience the diesel clatter that doesn’t sound like a $50k car.

          And yes, I’ve driven plenty of 528is (my FIL’s X3 is in for service, ah, fairly frequently, and he gets loaners) and my neighbor has had a new red E300 service loaner in his driveway for almost a month now as his previous-gen C300 has been missing. I hear him start it multiple times a day. Yuck.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            Really? You base your buying decisions on what your car sounds like idling with the window open or what your neighbors hear when you start the engine?

            Also, the external sound is because of DI not because it’s a 4cyl.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            jmo,

            It reminds me of a Top Gear 911 review where Jeremy Clarkson remarks that it sounds best driving slowly down the street. “That should tell you why people buy them.”

            So, yes. People do base their buying decision on what a car sounds like as it drives slowly past you. What else would you base it on, other than how it looks parked in your driveway? Every other aspect of that car’s performance envelope is illegal in all 50 states.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “What else would you base it on”

            What it sounds like when you’re in the driver’s seat?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            That plus the fact that I don’t particularly like the characteristics of the engine plus I object to paying $50k+ for something not dissimilar than I’d get in a $25k Jetta.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “something not dissimilar than I’d get in a $25k Jetta.”

            An E-Class is not dissimilar to a Jetta? Now you’re just spouting nonsense. If rear drive vs. front drive doesn’t matter to you then I don’t know what to say.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “An E-Class is not dissimilar to a Jetta? Now you’re just spouting nonsense. If rear drive vs. front drive doesn’t matter to you then I don’t know what to say.”

            Engine. Engine. Not car, just engine.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “Engine. Engine. Not car, just engine.”

            That’s only part of the car. And above you said the only difference was the sound outside and that’s mostly due to DI.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “That’s only part of the car. And above you said the only difference was the sound outside and that’s mostly due to DI.”

            What, am I being cross examined here? Come on man.

            I think the NVH characteristics of the BMW and MB 4cyls are undesirable, and I resent being charged big money for a car with a powerplant that’s very similar to that of a $25k VW Jetta. I don’t want to pay $50-70k for a 4cyl car (Or up to $100k in the case of Porsche!) because I think the engines cheapen the whole experience.

            That’s my opinion, feel free to disagree, but don’t tell me it’s due to my not having experienced those powerplants, because I have.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “People do base their buying decision on what a car sounds like as it drives slowly past you”

            no they f***ing don’t.

            Quoting Clarkson should automatically get you dismissed.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I haven’t driven a 4-cyl E-class, but I have driven a V6 and V8 E-class and I know those are the ones I want.

          And for $50K+ I think my German Sports Sedan should sound good all the time and in all situations not just when the speakers pipe noise to the driver.

          • 0 avatar
            TDIandThen....

            “And for $50K+ I think my German Sports Sedan should sound good all the time and in all situations….”.

            At that price we’re looking M2 or otherwise Volvo S60 T6 R edition, no? Less BS with the latter, though many fewer discounts.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          Of course you can’t. It’s not the real 4 cyl sound, just lip sync.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    Recently shopped for an X5, they were “moving out the 2016s to make room for the 2017s”. However the best “deal” I got was 3k off sticker. hardly a lot of cash on the hood, and they hid behind these things sell so well we dont need to discount them bs which I couldnt stomach long enough to purchase one.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I admit to not being the brightest bulb in the bin in terms of the auto industry. Every year, cars seem to get further and further from what I like after all, so what the hell do I know? But I think one reason is that by cheapening their cars, they gradually lost their reputation for quality. See the comments re the recent nasty looking Junkyard Find E36 328i ‘vert. It might have cost a bit more to make the E30 with top quality materials but when people see those on the road 30 years later with 250k on the odometer and looking half decent still, well, that helps your brand and may be worth the extra cash.

    Another reason is that they gradually lost sight of the enthusiast market, the people who put them on the map. You can still get a performance orientated 3-series near the bottom of the BMW price range but you have to special order it, and no matter how sparse you are with the order sheet it’s still going to be more disconnected from the driving experience through electronic steering, creature comforts, and about 1,000 pounds of extra pork as compared to the cars which made BMW the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

    The rest of their products are either very expensive sledgehammers – the current M3 has a lot more in common with the current Corvette than it does with the original E30 M3 – or CUVs designed to appeal to the mass market. Great but the buyers of these products don’t value what BMW used to bring to the table. They can go to Chevy or Ford and get a cheaper muscle car, or any manufacturer and get a cheaper CUV that’s probably more competent for what these people are going to use it for!

    They need to try to somehow get back to their roots, at least in some segments. It’s tough in this market to do, I know. Safety regulations add weight and kill styling, and consumer tastes are such that blobby CUVs are really where you make money as an automaker. But the fact that people are paying $50k for driver quality E30 M3s should show that there is still a niche market for performance cars, and that niche helps brand image across the board even if sales are limited. Maybe a decontented hot hatch to compete with the GTI?

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      Bingo. They were able to sell junk like the X5 because their core products had credibility. Now that their core models no longer hold water, the appeal of the ancillary products disappears as well.

      I feel much the same about the other two Germans, although it looks like Benz may have clued into the fact BEFORE every last shred of their name went to pot with the new C class. (ignoring the CheapLeaseAutomobile, of course)

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I would wager that the vast majority of BMWs customers today don’t even know what an E30 is, much less driven one. All of the equity that BMW built up with its great past models is gone. They need to start again. They really bit the hand that fed them by sticking it to their core enthusiast following.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Saying “fuck EPS” might be a quick way to get their enthusiasts back. I haven’t driven a new car with good steering feel in a while, and the 1/2 an MPG they save could be saved by making the car better still (removing weight).

          Otherwise, they’re staring into their self created abyss – which they helped along by juicing their sales last year…

  • avatar
    gsp

    BMW watered down their cars. After three in a row I just bought a Volvo XC90.

    Interior quality in the Volvo blows BMW away. I had two X5s in a row that had poor fit and finish inside. The first one had a fatal block metal separation at 60k miles. The worst was the dash fit and finish. Errors in design from 2008 did not even get fixed by 2012. They just never bothered. It is my opinion that BMW plan for their interiors to start to fall apart after five years.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Have you seen how the rubberized finish peels off in the E60 5 series? Terrible quality and definitely not built to last.

      • 0 avatar
        Wagon Of Fury

        Yes. None too impressed that a 14 year old Subaru interior held up better than a 7 year old BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        I have not noticed that on any E60s. My friend’s 2005 545i was perfect until last year when he sold it. My 2010 550i is perfect.

        I have recently had a chance to drive several E60s from 2010 — all were like new.

        My 2003 325i was perfect until last November when it was totaled. Felt like a brand new car at 12 years old.

        I have seen nothing but excellent quality and durability from BMW. However, all models I have dealt with have been bread and butter RWD/manual models common in Germany. I have not dealt with any American market oriented models like X3, X5, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      I have sat in one BMW in the relatively recent past. I’ll grant you that it was a in the backseat of a 2013 320i but I was pretty shocked at how low rent the interior seemed.

      If I was spending that kind of money on a mid sized sedan, V6 Accord would be it. I’m betting the interior would be just as nice and at least you get an honest to goodness V6 and it will be reliable as it gets. Sure, it’s FWD but if BMW has watered down the 3 series as much as people say, there’s probably not all the much driving difference.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Go drive a 320 or 328 in standard, non-enthusiast spec and I guarantee you’ll walk away saying: the 4-cylinder is better than I thought, the transmission is great….it’s a great……car.

        There’s absolutely nothing that makes you think “wow, I gotta own this!” until you step up and add in the M-Sport package, step up to the 340i or the M3.

        Herein lieth the rub for BMW. They’re just not special anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          hachee

          This is exactly it. I’ve had 3, 5 and X3 loaners over the last few years, and yes, they’re “very nice” cars…but just not special anymore. The new 4 cylinder turbos are smooth and powerful, just like they are in the new C and E Classes, and they’ll be perfectly fine for the majority of buyers. But the magic of the inline NA six is gone.

          In broadening their appeal (and increasing sales as a result), they dumbed down the cars, and now there’s really no compelling reason to buy (most of) them. Audi, MB, Volvo and Jag have stepped up their game, and now there’s really not much that differentiates BMWs from them.

          And the upcoming 5 looks like six more years of the same generic luxury car, so I don’t see much improvement in sales down the pike.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I’m no fan of the 328 given what they charge for it new, but I think equating the driving dynamics to that of a V6 Accord is a real stretch. The current F30 is still very responsive, planted, and balanced compared to a FWD midsizer. The ride-handling balance is spot on for what I like.

        Excellent powertrain aside, the Accord is nothing special to drive and its interior isn’t nearly as nice as the mags say. The Honda’s V6 sounds and feels far better than the BMW 2.0, but the BMW’s transmission is far more responsive and you can control what gear you’re in.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Yes, all of this.

          But.

          But.

          The Accord costs HALF of what the BMW does, and will probably, with much less maintenance, last twice as long.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            A BMW is made to be leased.

            What else can you say about a car that doesn’t even have an oil dipstick? A car that for years was marketed as having “free maintenance” that consisted mostly of a 20,000 mile oil change interval, so they could avoid paying dealers for any actual maintenance at the expense of the cars being quite probably spent by the time the original drivers turned them in? It’s like a Ponzi scheme, with all owners beyond the warranty period as its victims.

            No, thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I don’t disagree on the longevity or value, Chris. The price difference is significant and the 328 doesn’t feel like $42K.

            A V6 Accord is closer to 75% the price of a 328, though.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “I don’t disagree on the longevity or value, Chris. The price difference is significant and the 328 doesn’t feel like $42K.

            A V6 Accord is closer to 75% the price of a 328, though.”

            You might be right, but I was adding in the things I’d expect to include on a 328i (now 330i) to make spending the money palatable. For me that’s metallic paint ($700), cold weather package (heated seats, etc, $800), premium package (keyless entry, moonroof, etc, $2450), and tech package (navigation, etc, $2750). That comes to $48k with destination.

            Cheapest Accord V6 is the EX-L, I think, add Nav (and required Honda Sensing) and you’re at $33k, which is 68% of a 330i.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            How DARE you expect heated seats and a real paint color on your luxury-priced car?

            I’m so done with you.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    BMW has gone too soft. I had both an E36 M3 and then an E46 M3. The only car that interests me at all these days is the M2 and only because it’s basically as close as you can get to a combination of my prior M3s. The new M3/4 turned into a land yacht, no longer a fun and tossable car.

    Maybe BMW should just throw in the towel and become an CUV company if they’re going soft on so many of their cars.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Good news! Maybe now BMW will realize that in their race to mediocrity they lost excellence. Black interiors throughout? Check. Slippery vinyl seats? Check. Turn signal repeater on the 328 mirror is visible to the driver and super distracting? Check. No space for feet and rear cushion as low as in 1986 Civic, in the X3? Check. Engine output on par with Korean engines? Check!

    What BMW needs is a convertible X4. That’s gonna get the numbers right up there, where Murano lives.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I went car shopping and looked at the A4, C, 3 and the Jag. The 3 was so far behind the other three that I didn’t even consider it. The comparison was striking, it was like the BMW was 10 years behind the A4 and C.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Quality has fallen, aging designs aren’t competitive with Audi and MB, priced as best in class but product isn’t able to cash that check, hit and miss dealer experience, reliance on leases means lots of cpo options that aren’t that different than their new cars/suv’s.

    A few years ago if you wanted a ‘sporty’ suv, you got an X5 or a Cayenne. Now you can get a GLC, Q5 or Q7, Macan or Cayenne or XC90 or F-Type.

    BMW isn’t class leading anymore. Their new stuff (7 and 5 series) seems to be downgrades from their prior versions, which themselves were downgrades from prior iterations.

    Pricing is a problem, but if their stuff was worth it, people would pay for it. It’s not.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    BMW did well when they only had to compete with Mercedes and Audi now they also have to compete with JLR and Volvo who are making great cars right now. Suddenly giving up on the Rover project and selling Land Rover is looking like a bad move.

    Best thing BMW can do right now is to make fewer BMWs so that they can reduce discounts and to use up capacity with another brand. Best thing they could do is reinvent Triumph that would give JLR something to think about and add a whole new lineup of cars.

  • avatar
    319583076

    The primary reason we aren’t BMW owners is our local dealership. H&H (formerly Markel) BMW gave us an extremely poor sales experience when we were shopping. As returning customers (MINI), I’d already written off their ridiculously poor service department.

    Mercedes Benz of Omaha, however, provided a superior sales experience and has provided superior service as well.

    Guess which dealer will get our business in the future?

    See you in Hell, BMW!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    When I was car shopping last year, it got down to three cars. 1. G37 convertible from Carmax with a Carmax warranty, 2. a 1 series with the sweet inline 6 from a Ford dealer, and 3. a CPO IS250 from a Lexus dealer. The nice sales lady at Carmax showed me what the warranty costs would be on the BMW, the Infinity, and the Lexus. The Lexus had the cheapest warranty costs. For many buying their “yuppie car” warrnty and perceived maintenance costs are the deciding factor. Apologies to krhodes in advance. Yeah, lots of luxury buyers are guying to Lexus due to lower perceived operating costs. That’s BMW’s real problem. Now, the Jaguar supercharged XE I drove at a jaguar event was sweet

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    “So, yes. People do base their buying decision on what a car sounds like as it drives slowly past you”

    Really? Maybe Consumer Reports should add a category for that.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    As I’ve said before, BMWs are as common as dirt around here (Vancouver) hardly any pretense of luxury or exclusivity. BMW in the ‘Teens is like Cadillac in the Seventies, debasing the brand to chase volume.

  • avatar
    EX35

    maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to take BMW’s greatest strength (steering) and turn it into an over boosted limp-wristed Civic competitor just to satisfy the soccer moms.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    BMW volume is on par with Mazda in the US market. Irrelevance is breeding irrelevance.

  • avatar
    BaBlogger77

    I have had a few other luxury makes during the past several years. I never had a BMW, however, primarily because I do not care for the customer service of the dealers I have visited. I hate getting the sense from a dealer that you have struck life’s lottery by allowing the dealer to grant you the privilege of gazing upon and considering the purchase one of their rolling perfections on wheels. I have personally found them considerably less engaging or interested in my business versus other makes. I have also found their deals much worse for a car in the same price category as others.

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    They want to be all things to all people and its finally coming back to bite them in the a$$. Plus, people who have to keep up with the Jones’s have moved on.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I enjoy the 320i I leased last year, other than the vinyl seats that make my ass sweat. Sure, it sounds like a diesel at start up, but that gets better when it warms up, and boy does that tranny wring the very most of all 180 ponies. It’s the most effortless highway car I’ve ever owned: responsive, great fuel economy and it doesn’t beat you up because it will hold a line very well. Also, the cruise control thumb switch should be in every single car made, by everyone.

    That being said, my local BMW dealership is running ads on the talk radio station I listen to, which is the first time in 12 years of living here I can every recall them advertising. They even had a tag line about how easy it is to finance through BMW Financial.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I used to be the biggest fanboi of BMW known to man…practically bled blau mit weiss starting with my first ride back in 1975 in the back seat of our landlord’s 2000. That cemented it for me. Right after graduating from college in 1992 I drove nearly five hours after selling a much newer Nissan to buy my 1974 2002. Why I sold that one, I will never know, as that was (and is) my “ultimate” car. I also owned an E30 and an E36…loved them both. I want to still love Bimmers, really, but they just leave me cold. And the better selling models are CUV/SUV now, so the call for more enthusiast oriented models, while great for the small percentage of us, is moot as the market is moving away from sedans. What I want, they don’t sell (at least here in the US). So, they become lease queens and the traits that made them so endearing to me are quickly fading away.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I recently drove a freinds X3 for the weekend – we went shopping for a Jaguar XJS convertible and I was along as the technical expert. He did buy an XJS, one of the rare 5 speed manual trans ones; so I had to drive his X3 home – about 500 miles.

    The longer I drove the BMW the more I hated it. Sure the power was fine, the handling was fine, but the controls are a disaster. British Leyland’s dash layout in the 70’s was nothing compared to the BMW. The radio control were laughably complex, I never did figure out how to do a seek or scan to try and find a station. Even getting to the presets wasn’t easy. It was an ok car to drive, but frustrating to try and figure out how to actually do anything in it without reading the manual. I was very happy to get out of it, and wishing I could have driven the XJS :)

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m half surprised half unsurprised the X3 is selling like gangbusters with how much it resembles a RAV4.

    BMW does have the best 2.0T in the business, and on an incredibly sad note may have the cheapest 6 cylinder sedan with a manual transmission in the 340i. Definitely still repping the M in BMW. Being that those are its only merits as a brand it’s no wonder it’s in trouble.

  • avatar
    skor

    BMW was once the brand of young, upper-middle class professions. Today the ‘hood is infested with used(mostly) BMWs. Once a desirable luxury brand becomes the brand of ‘those people’ that brand is toast with well heeled new car buyers. That’s what killed off Lincoln and Caddy….well, that and products like the Versailles, Cimarron and V8-6-4.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You have made this claim over and over and it’s still not true. There have always been used (and new for that matter) luxury cars “in the hood”, and buyers of new luxury cars have no exposure to the “hood” in the first place for that to even be a consideration. Not to mention a lot of upper middle class people are from the “hood” or wish they were at least. This is a stupid, loaded, baseless refrain… give it a rest.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Somehow, both you guys are right.

  • avatar
    EX35

    they also seemed to lose their german solidity as of late. the 5 and 7 series can’t hold a candle to the solid feeling of the new E and S class.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    1. No stick in any model I’m interested in.

    2. No more NA inline six engine. The T4 is only a better “numbers” engine.

    3. Eye bleeding prices for “options” that most brands include at this — or lower — price levels.

    I doubt I’ll ever be back to the marque, unless they offer a four door HB 2 Series with a stick.

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      You are not kidding. BMW charges for features Kia has standard now.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I’ve seen that elsewhere too. WiFi/Internet access is an extra charge at expensive hotels, but free at your typical Courtyard.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          There’s an entirely-different reason for that. MOST guests at top-tier hotels are business travelers with business accounts. And the hotel business model is to milk all the money they can out of those expense-account travelers.

          At mid-price hotels, a fair number of guests pay their own freight and shop around. Which is why someplace like Courtyard is only a little-more expensive than a Stupor Ate.

      • 0 avatar
        Publius

        yes, Yes, YES! All the German lux brands are awful about options pricing, but BMW is the worst.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      This nails it.

      I’m not a BMW prospect – not even metaphysically on-line. But all that WOULD tempt me in a Roundel is what you list.

      Especially a modern spirited in-line six. The extinction of sixes is the automotive tragedy of the age; how sad it is that someone cannot put together a small aluminum six, set it up longitudinally – either front or rear drive, but a velvet-smooth, high-revving six. And with a manual gearbox, even if “only” a five-speed.

      But BMW has chosen to depend on the Roundel, and sell what everyone else is selling, crossovers. Good luck with that, as they say.

      The results are coming in.

  • avatar
    gs340

    Cash on hood? Really?

    I can’t be the only one that doesn’t care about cash on the hood as much as depreciation and reliability.

    I will never, ever consider a BMW of any model or vintage until they can demonstrate Honda or Toyota levels of reliability.

    Add that to their driving experience and ‘engineering’ and you might catch my interest.

  • avatar
    rjg

    As much as we’d like the storyline to be that BMW is being punished for watering down their cars, this article touches on the real reason: undersupply of SUVs. On top of that, the current 3 series is nearing the end of its 7 year run, and the current 5 went out of production in October. So, unfortunately, the moral of the story for BMW is going to be “sell more CUVs”.

  • avatar
    tnk479

    Here is a list of all the useless features I don’t want on my next car because they add weight and cost and I don’t use them:

    – Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
    – Rain sensing wipers – BMW’s suck and are not worth it
    – Navigation System – BMW’s is mediocre and I just use Google Maps
    – Adjustable Driving Modes (Comfort, Eco, Sport) – I hate this
    – Automatic transmission
    – Speed limit info and notifications about accidents ahead (it’s wrong 80% of the time)
    – iDrive
    – Lane keeping assist, stop and go assist, auto brake, etc. None of this crap interests me.
    – Heads up display – useless gimmick

    What I want is an inline 6-cylinder w/ about 250-275 hp mated to a sweetheart of a six-speed short throw gearbox in a four door sedan with a nice sporty suspension (tuned a bit sportier than my 328’s “sport” setting. It should be rear wheel drive with a mechanical limited slip differential *standard*. This part is really important: I want steering feel to be returned — if that means hydraulic then put a damned hydraulic steering rack in it. Since I don’t care about adjustable steering feel, throttle response, and dampening then that should be doable. I want premium heated cloth/vinyl seats and a heated steering wheel. LED lights all around should be standard. A screen that will display Apple CarPlay or Android Auto should be a low cost option. A sound system should be an available option.

    I don’t blame BMW for chasing profits with SUV shaped MINI Coopers. I get it. Rich, spoiled, young women with dad’s money need to drive something. Better that than a VW Beetle Convertible. But I don’t see why BMW has to watch us performance enthusiast leave their brand in droves just so they can sell FWD Mini’s. It’s fully within their power to offer cars we want to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Rich, spoiled, young women with dad’s money”

      Come out of the cave, Ogg. Most female BMW buyers, especially of entry-level models, earned the money to buy their German POS.

      It’s the brainwashing of lower-middle buyers, particularly female, that has shown BMW’s business savvy in “losing its way”. They seem to grasp that mano a machino is dead and stinking.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    What has happened here, is that BMW has hit “Peak Kewel.”

    That Valley Girl who’s marketing Cadillac as a brand, not a car…she’ll be a disaster, but in that price segment she’s right. These cars, cars in this rare-air price range, are not being sold as transportation but as images.

    As Gucci handbags or designer jeans are sold. As the your-brand-is-you generation gets older, and climbs the ladder higher, they take their idea of status, that is you’re the sum of all the brand names you have attached…to higher and higher levels.

    And as it happens, BMW has suddenly become not-so-hip.

    It happens to all of these brands which are just trends riding on themselves until they fade out crashing on the beach…but here we’re watching it. As Cadillac once was the kewel thing, among the non-discretionary, more-money-than-sophistication types who sold controlled substances and rented flesh.

    So be it. I have a lot of respect for BMW’s history and past efforts, but not so much for the current offerings. Behind the brand there SHOULD be substance; but the reality is, better value and often a better package lie in other stores.


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