By on May 8, 2015

2015 BMW X4

It’s only been on sale ten months. But those who hoped BMW wouldn’t be able to repeat the X6’s moderate levels of success will be disappointed to hear the BMW X4 just recorded its best U.S. sales month so far. 920 copies of the X4 were sold in April 2015,

April’s total was 89% better than the average monthly total from the first-quarter of this year. Moreover, April’s X4 U.S. sales total was 54% better than the total from the prior month, when the U.S. new vehicle market was 6% larger. Indeed, the X4’s April total of 920 units was 12% greater than the total achieved by BMW USA in December of last year, December being the month for luxury auto sales in America.

Just days after TTAC’s managing editor mentioned the rate at which Porsche Macans are flying out of showrooms – not that the Macan is the highest-volume vehicle by any means, not even among Porsches – the realization that X4 sales are rising higher makes a measure of sense. True, the X4 is not the shockingly effective all-arounder that the Macan is. But in 2015, as a general rule, auto consumers love SUVs (and the various spin-off names of the SUV class: crossovers, CUVs, utilities, tall wagons.) Added to that, auto consumers love luxury branded vehicles. Auto consumers also love BMWs; after all, BMW was America’s best-selling premium auto brand in 2014 and only trails Mercedes-Benz by a hair through the first-third of 2014.

2015 BMW X4 red

But the X4? Is it simply selling more often now than when it first originated because Americans love SUVs, especially luxury SUVs, and especially BMWs?

Like the X6 and the discontinued Acura ZDX, the X4 is a more costly, less flexible version of a more mainstream luxury utility vehicle. In the X6’s case, the donor vehicle was the X5. The ZDX was the second-gen MDX’s offspring. The X4 is a more costly, less flexible version of the BMW X3. And one might have naturally assumed that in stark contrast to the less-is-more formula that works for so many a special edition Porsche sports car, the less-style-equals-more-ugly conundrum of the X4 would see the BMW suffering the ZDX’s fate.

Yet nearly one year into its tenure, the BMW X4 is selling better than at any point in the model’s brief history.

And in April, the X4 sold 59% more frequently than the Acura ZDX did in its best-ever month.

 

2010 Acura ZDX

2010 Acura ZDX

Lovers of taste can be grateful, however, as the increasingly popular X4 is still really not all that popular. Only one out of every ten BMW SAV sales in April involved an X4. (Only one in five involved the more expensive X6.)

BMW’s more conventional X1, X3, and X5 combined for a 19% year-over-year loss in April and are down 25% year-to-date in an SUV/CUV market that was up 15% in April and 13% year-to-date. The addition of the X4 and improved X6 sales don’t alter the fact that BMW utility vehicle sales are still down this year: 6% in April; 17% year-to-date. More specifically, the X3’s decline (32% in April; 40% YTD) hasn’t been completely made up for by the X4, either. Meeting global demand for luxury SUVs isn’t an easy task at the moment, as the United States isn’t the only market with a hankering for vehicles like the X3, which is in short supply.

 

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

Regardless, with the X4’s moderate level of success, don’t be surprised if automakers delve deeper into this bizarre niche. Indeed, we’ve already seen that the next M-Class (to be called the GLE) will offer a so-called coupe version; an X6 fighter. Let’s just hope they find a way to make them all a little prettier.

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 Facebook.

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34 Comments on “Shock, Horror: U.S. BMW X4 Sales Are Rising Higher...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m no purist; I like the X4. Why would anyone wish for it not to sell?

    • 0 avatar
      Waterloo

      I couldn’t agree more. I quite like the X4. Why the anger towards these? Mind you I drive a 335GT, not many people on here like those either.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I like ’em too and not sure of the drama. It’s not ugly, it’s just not that practical as compared to it’s SUV brother. I see a few here and there where I live.

      I was never a fan of the Acura ZDK, but that was more that Acura is not my favorite make and Acura set the MSRP far too high on that car. And well…they left that silly front end on it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Because when good men do nothing that is evil enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I like the idea of a sports/SUV, but the X4/X6/ZDX/GLE execution is a pricey meh.

      How about a Mazdaspeed CX-3, HR-V R, or Ecosport ST?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Because if it sells, companies will be embolden to reduce ability & raise price across the board.

      If you believe the market works to deliver the products that best fill people’s needs, then you should be scared of these vehicles’ success because it means people are more irrational than usual, and free markets don’t work with that level of irrationality.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      If vehicles like the X4 are successful, automakers will make the rational decision to divert a larger share of limited R&D resources to the development of similar vehicles. I would prefer not to have a more significant portion of the marketplace devoted to the impractical, ungainly and inefficient.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “I’m no purist; I like the X4. Why would anyone wish for it not to sell?”

      The title of this piece was tongue-in-cheek. Hatchbacks are well regarded on TTAC. Hatchbacks on a raised platform pretending to be SUVs… not so much. They are compromised by reduced cargo capacity, limited outward visibility, and awkward ingress and egress.

      The puzzle is that the Acura ZDX (and to some degree the Honda CrossTour) are similar vehicles to the BMW X4, yet they are dead or dying, and mocked on the internet, whereas the BMW X4 is surviving. The power of the BMW badge is something to behold.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    As an owner of about a dozen Ford Sierras, I’m kinda enjoying the fact that hatchback sedans are finally catching on. Ford didnt raise the suspension on their 4wd version quite as much, and it was quite a bit more affordable, but I still like the general shape on many of them. As for the flexibility, I don’t think a hatchback is any less flexible than a wagon, as most people don’t load anything above the parcel shelf, and you can still load large stuff and drive with the hatch half-open if you have to. They are also great for hauling long stuff, like building material.

  • avatar
    JRobUSC

    X3 sales being down in the U.S. must mean BMW is diverting them to other markets, they’re damn near impossible to get where I live. The two local dealers are completely sold out of both new AND used ones. They’re taking orders for new, and used ones leave as fast as they come in. I don’t think the numbers would be down if BMW simply made more of them available here, so the fact that they aren’t doing that must mean they’re raking in the cash selling them in other markets where prices are higher and exchange rates vs the U.S. dollar are advantageous.

    • 0 avatar
      hachee

      Yes, it’s definitely a supply issue with the X3.

      I have no problem with the endless new niches. I just have a problem with the horrible and unfortunate styling of the X4, and the watered down driving experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        Agreed. Niche-filling isn’t a problem at all. That means it’s easier for us, the consumers, to more get the precise package we want. My personal issue with the X4 is, as stated in the article, the less-for-more conundrum. But silly as it initially seemed, BMW offering three versions of the 3 with four doors (3, 3GT, 4GC) is terrific, at least for the consumer.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Niche filling can be troublesome. BMW’s portfolio is so diverse most dealerships can’t keep one of every model on the lot. Nor would they want to- why waste space on niche rides that could go to quick easy sellers? I read somewhere (maybe here?) that BMW shoppers are beginning to be confused by all their offerings.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            My local dealer doesn’t usually have one of everything. Doesn’t seem to slow them down a bit since almost 50% of their sales are orders anyway. I can’t see buying off the rack in this price range, might as well get exactly what you want. What’s the rush?

      • 0 avatar
        X4M Diesel

        For those critics out there who would not know style and build quality if it hit them between the eyes. With the hundreds of sedan and 4WD models in the World there is nothing that blends the 2 together for the human eye that is so brilliant to look at from any angle than the BMW X4M. The X4 is what the X6 wanted to be. Its obvious isnt it! BMW left the best till last.
        Its got grace, beauty, style and purity all rolled into one package. When you mate the 35d 630Nm Diesel with 0-100km/h in 5.1sec. Need I say more!. Please dont mention the Macan or the GLE Merc dont come in the same league
        For economy, looks and power. Not to mention value for money. Oh! I nearly forgot to mention one other thing. At least I dont strain my back getting into this magnificent graceful beast like you do in the Bimmer sedans. Plus have the grunt whilst sitting up high. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      S1L1SC

      I can confirm this – My dad still get a company car from BMW in retirement, and he could not get an X3 this time around due to the tight supply.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    The angle in the first picture really does make it look like a squatting dog.

  • avatar
    SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

    Love it or hate it. Polarizing design works in this segment where it’s all about being “in your face”.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    I just find it weird that a vehicle that required new sheet metal, suspension tuning, interior and certification can be justified at essentially low numbers but a manual transmission option in a 328i wagon isn’t offered when all that is required is certification (the body, drivetrain, etc are all already engineered and produced)

    Oh well.

    Also, that MB is just plain ugly. I think the X4/6 is along with the GT models, but I can at least say they may have some design balance. The MB – no. Ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Even after development and federalization costs, obviously BMW thought the X4 had a stronger business case.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I’m sure they did, although I am not sure it is BMW. I place the blame on BMW US dealers. None of them want an option that may prevent them from selling their “lease special” that is on the floor.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The X6 was hugely impractical but at least it was styled to look sleek.

    This thing doesn’t even look right. But that’s not going to stop people from “daring” to buy something “different” to “stand out,” even though it’s just a chopped X3.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Shock and horror? No.

    It’s the latest trend. Ungainly portliness is the new beautiful and shows your devil may care, swashbuckling attitude to the less adventurous who don’t work in the financial services industry.

  • avatar

    These vehicles make sense if you remember the higher H-point suits senior drivers or anyone with a mobility problem. They are what designers call “Universal Design”. I happen to like them for that reason.

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    When you shrink the wheels and wells, and lower the height about a foot, these and the Crosstour/MDX start to look pretty good.

  • avatar
    peeryog

    Its like the Infiniti EX35. Which came out in 2008. A shorter, taller, less useful version of the G35. Only difference is that the EX35 was never a success.

  • avatar
    SCfanboy

    I see 4-6 truckloads of these automobiles going down interstate 26 near the BMW plant daily. There everywhere around here, but I believe they are employee driven.

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