BMW Dealer's Hope (BS?) Springs Eternal

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bmw dealers hope bs springs eternal

I don’t suppose I have to devote much time to blogging the fact that U.S. luxury car dealers are taking it on the chin. Our Inside Baseball readers will already know that Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Acura and Infiniti are all busy losing sales (although they may want to look at the numbers in this USA Today report, charting the brands’ decline since March ’07). And “regular” people are already so freaked-out about the economic downturn that they don’t want to hear yet more evidence that the U.S. economy is going to Hell in a sub-prime-shaped hand-basket. But there’s a telling detail here– especially for anyone who’s ever wondered what happens at a car dealer’s Monday sales meeting. “Falling housing values have affected wealthy customers most in Florida and California, Johnson [president of Customer Growth Partners] says. Car dealers in those states are feeling it, but they still look for a turnaround. ‘People are a little cautious right now,’ says Tim Smith, who runs the family-owned Bob Smith BMW in Calabasas, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb. Sales dipped recently, but new models are coming by year’s end, ‘And we’re on everyone’s shopping list.'” Would it be churlish to say “not mine”?

Join the conversation
4 of 11 comments
  • Ptrott Ptrott on Oct 06, 2008

    OMG, some of the writing skills here are horrible. Any comments blowfish? :)

  • Kendahl Kendahl on Oct 06, 2008

    There are two and a half reasons why I bought something other than a 328i coupe last year. Reason one was the run flat tires and no room for a spare. Reason two was that the local dealer refuses to stock manual transmission cars. The half a reason was that the current cars' styling is nowhere near as elegant as that of the previous two generations. If I were shopping now, I would look at a 128i coupe, but the same 2-1/2 reasons would still be in the way.

  • Findude Findude on Oct 06, 2008

    I am still looking for my 1988 M5, the only BMW I'm interested in. Am I the only one here old enough to remember the nausea-inducing wannabe BMW crowd of the 1990s? Many people buy BMWs because of the image, I know more who won't buy them because of the image. This has nothing to do with the quality of the cars, mind you, just the risk of association through ownership.

  • ZCline ZCline on Oct 06, 2008

    I don't have a car, but I use zip car, and they recently got a few 328i's in stock. I had to take a friend home, so I rented one for a few hours, and maybe it was because I simply don't normally drive anymore, but this thing was a hoot. It had "only" 230hp, but it felt plenty fast, revved to 7k and had a 6speed auto gearbox that actually shifted pretty quickly. It was great through the corners, although the steering was a bit weird. Sure, I'd probably never own one myself (335i coupe please) but I can easily see why you'd want one.