Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.
Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Zackman Zackman on Nov 18, 2014

    When we were looking at cars over 2 years ago, checking out a Buick Lacrosse and trying to choose what we wanted was overwhelming with all the choices if we were going to order. Best thing to do is look at what each dealer that sells the model you want and choose from what they have on hand that meets 95% or so of what you want.

  • Gottacook Gottacook on Nov 18, 2014

    I think Subaru of America's recent success has been helped by having a relatively limited lineup - the Outback/Legacy, Impreza, and Forester, plus the occasional low-volume specialty model offered for a limited number of years (Baja, Tribeca, etc.). There are some economies of scale that not every buyer realizes, such as the fact that the Impreza and Forester use the same dashboard (same for the previous-generation cars). Sticking with real model names has probably helped for the volume cars. Someone coming to a Subaru dealership is already fairly sure whether he or she is interested in (for example) a Forester.

  • Petezeiss Petezeiss on Nov 18, 2014

    I have no problem here; if a vehicle isn't at least 60" tall it's just another dangerous obstacle, not a prospective purchase. Granted, many can be both.

  • Drewlssix Drewlssix on Nov 18, 2014

    It reminds me of complaints from older guys that modern parts store clerks don't seem to know anything about the parts they sell. Not like when they were young! Ofcourse when they were young chevy made (A) car, the chevy. And a truck obviously. It's hard to imagine that today but there was a time when a chevy was a chevy ads there was no compact mid size full size confusion. Hence the name Chevy II. Things would be a lot simpler for parts guys if there was only the Malibu and silverado like the good ol, days.