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Good, Bad or Ugly - Current and Future styling trends of BMW

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  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I'd agree with that appraisal.

    I think anniversarying YTD sales from last year doesn't tell the whole story. For one thing we have departing model, and as soon as new model particulars make the scene, a current lame duck begins to slow, usually.

    Better might be to compare the OA sales boost percentage YTD for the E60 against the first-year sales boost percentage for the E39 ('98?), if such figures are available.

    I would imagine this new model is relatively flat when all is said and done. I suggest it has alienated about the same number as it has converted (retensions valuing at zero in the equation)...
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see until more sales figures are available for this year. Until then the best anyone can do is speculate on who buys what when or what indicates good or bad sales numbers. Early next year we should know for sure. All I was saying is that sales are not in fact lower given that 2101 more units had sold so far. As for the reasons for that, everyone has an opinion. As far as the car itself goes, it's one of those love it or hate it things. I certainly wouldn't try to convince anyone that hates it to buy it; in fact it really only matters that I like it to me. Vsaxena-Sorry, probably shouldn't have said you looked at the chart wrong. What I meant was that since the station wagon and M5 are not yet available the total 2003 5 sales can't be accurately compared to 2004 until you delete the station wagons and M5 from the 2003 numbers. I would also say that we won't really know whether this redesign was a success or failure until years down the road (no pun intended).
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    No two ways you are correct about the appeal.

    I'm quite certain it's an engaging and satisfying drive, and if the outside speaks to you, well, that's all she wrote!

    I lusted seriously after the '02-03 E39, and for me, this gen isn't a step forward in styling. But that's my own deal!

    I don't really think there's a mfr out ther right now with a real solid handle on styling, other, maybe, than Mazda. To some extent Aston as well, I guess.

    Everybody seems to be casting about for the next big wave to ride, and I don't see anyone who's really caught it!
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    I agree that the new e60's sales aren't impressive considering that it's a new model.

    However, in addition to the e60 style being a little strange and offputting to many potential buyers, there are 2 other factors that might have led to lower sales: 1) sales of X5, lots of people are taking an SUV over a car; and 2) increased prices on e60.

    IMO, the increase in prices is the main reason sales of e60 have declined, then the strange looks and lastly the X5 is cannibalizing some 5-series sales.

    I'm seeing more e60s on the road now and IMO, it's the strangest looking car I've ever seen. I like some of the individual design elements a lot, they're very creative and well done.

    But there's too many design elements and they don't work well together, instead they're competing for your attention. I haven't seen any other car that looks so different in different colors, and I think this is the result of too many contrasting styling elements.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    There are lots of E60s in my neck of the woods and I like the vehicle more and more. As a contrast, while I have only slightly warmed up to the G35/Nissan styling after two years, after a few months the new Bangle version of the 5 series have grown on me tremendously. Can't wait for the unveiling of the new 3-series.

    I think in the long run, once they tweak the overall design it'll be awesome.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 201
    There are pictures of the new 3 series (2006) on the 3 Series boards. Finally there is a Bangle car which works. It seems to have a lot more harmony than the E60. After the Z4, may be the best designed Bangle car.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The Z4 is gorgeous and the new is a car of a different ilk, but they did a great job with it.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    In an idle moment, I was reading through some old auto magazines and came across an interview with Henrik Fisker, the designer of the universally admired and drop-dead-gorgeous Aston Martin DB9. Here are a couple of quotations:

    "I think the back-to-basics approach may be a function of us almost exhausting how much new technology we can pack into a car and still make it practical and usable for most consumers."

    "I've gotten a lot of inspiration by looking back at what made the human fall in love with cars. Buying a car is such an irrational and emotional behavior, that I have to figure out what it is that they love. Really, who needs a car that costs more than say $15,000? I'm trying to capture the sense of the emotion and love affair that people have with cars."

    These are two statements that seem to encapsulate much of what has been expressed here and elsewhere regarding the E60 design. BMW's current direction appears to be very much at odds with Fisker's thinking. The latest sales figures for the E60 show a steady decline which, I believe, will continue now that the early adapters have already bought. Meanwhile, there's an 18 month waiting list for the DB9 (I know that it's a limited production vehicle but it also costs $160K+ so it's all relative).

    The market is speaking, I wonder if anyone at BMW is listening.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    The market is speaking across all BMW models; not just the re-designed models. Here are July and year-to-date sales for the 3 series which has not been changed:

     3 Series
    July 04 YTD 04 July03 YTD03
    8,823 63,777 9,952 68,924

    Now, I know people will say that is because of the impending 3 redesign, but we can't prove that. X5 sales were also down. To me, the sales decline has less to do with the Bangle designs and much more to do with the overall economy and oil shortage fears. I know that there are some here who think the economy is doing better. I work in finance and I disagree. Most portfolios are flat at best and most major market indicators are down. Unemployment is still high. Gas prices are high. None of that adds up to great sales.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree, there honestly isn't any difference between a moderately loaded 330i and loaded G35. They are both expensive. If I were to pass on the 330i on price, I would pass on the G35 as well.

    The only thing I disagree with is the cutoff $15,000. It should be $10,000. A lot of expensive restaurants are also feeling the pinch. However people are crammed like sardines into the $6 buffet all you can eat place.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    I don't work in the financial sector so I'll defer to higher authority on the "real" state of the economy. But here are few snippets gathered from various sources:

    "In the United States, demand for Mercedes-Benz brand cars rose by 1.5 percent to 17,500 vehicles in June. Year to date - Record sales of the C Class sedan (28,600 cars, up 16 percent), the E Class (27,200 cars, up five percent) and the SL Class (7,000 cars, up 22 percent) all contributed substantially to the good development on the North American market."

    "Audi is looking to sell over 238,000 cars in Germany this year and to increase its sales in the USA to 200,000 vehicles in the medium term. Sales in the USA this year though will certainly be above the previous year's level of 86,000 vehicles."

    "April - Lexus passenger cars posted strong sales of 11,573, an increase of 13.1 percent. The ES 330 luxury sedan led sales with 6,460 units, an increase of 21.9 percent. The LS 430 flagship luxury sedan posted sales of 2,706 units, up 63.8 percent, while sales of the SC 430 hardtop convertible increased 4.5 percent."

    "Nissan Motor Co.'s U.S. arm recorded its best month ever, and Toyota Motor Corp.'s American division had its best-ever July, the two automakers said Tuesday."

    Maybe the buyers of these particular brands are able to afford a new car by eating at the $6 all you can eat buffets. We can speculate that potential BMW buyers haven't discovered this technique. Once they do, sales should soar.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Nissan/Toyota also make cars far less expensive then BMW/Mercedes/Audi. For one 330i one can buy 3 Corollas. Maybe price has something to do with it, but then you'd be driving 3 Corollas. Apples to oranges.

    Last year BMW had it's best year ever. So what is really being said?
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Hmmm...here's two releases by Audi and MB that seem to contradict what you posted:

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/08/05/207584.html

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/08/03/207236.html

    So while MB sold more of some models, overall sales are down. And while Audi might be "looking" to sell more cars in the US (and that's different from any other foreign car company how?) they haven't so far this year. Don't know what explains the Lexus sales increases though haven't Japanese car sales traditionally outpaced German car sales in the US? Nissan isn't relevent due to the difference in car prices. I'd really love to hear some solid financial reasons behind the thinking that the economy is so much better than it was last year. And "I know some people that made a killing on the stock market this year" isn't what I'm talking about. Wow, just think, if I'd have known about that strategy of eating at $6 buffets before I bought my 545 I could have really afforded it SOOOO much more easily! Couldn't you have posted that before the release of the E60? I'm sure BMW would have loved the financial lift it would have provided to potential buyers!
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    imho id say yeah it has things to do w/ the econ, its not getting better at all, and the gas price? whew...
    its not just the beemers, its all luxury brand markets, theyre falling apart thanks to the economy. beemer sales just hurt a little more because of the designs, or is it the i-drive? im not sure
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I heard on news radio this am that car sales are up due to manufacturers incentives. In other words, people are not buying without incentives and the incentives are expected to continue into the future.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    I'm not getting this at all guys. MBUSA (not globally as in your link rich545) had their best July ever.
    http://www.germancarfans.com/news.cfm/newsid/2040804.003/mercedes- /1.html

    Toyota reported its best July sales ever, up 18% from a year ago. "The industry is reaping the benefits of the highest consumer confidence ratings in two years," says Jim Press, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Sales USA. "Fuel prices are holding steady, the job market continues to improve, and the 2005 models are hitting showroom floors. These three factors bode well for a strong third quarter."

    Nissan USA recorded their best month ever in July. Yet your posts continue to attribute BMW's rapidly declining sales (and disastrous July) to the economy.

    In my original post I was trying to say that BMW used to adhere to the same values expressed by Henrick Fisker. As a result, BMWs were universally respected as true driver's cars with an understated, timeless elegance. For whatever reason, BMW has felt the need to deviate from the values that made them so admired. As expressed on this board and elsewhere, BMW's new design and technological philosophies have alienated many existing and prospective BMW owners. BMW was once the media darling and their cars perennially topped comparison tests. Now BMW appears well down the list in most comparisons and I've read driving impressions containing descriptions such as "isolated" and "uninvolving". There's no need to expand on the current BMW designs which have been so universally criticized that they're a bit of a cliche.

    IMO these are the underlying reasons for BMW's declining sales. Interesting to note that BMW's CPO sales (read E39) are up dramatically.

    Let's see - sales of high-end brands such as MB, Lexus and Infinity are soaring in the US. Sales of mid-market brands such as Toyota and Nissan have hit record levels. Attributing BMW's poor sales figures to economic factors just doesn't cut it.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually premium brands suffer in a downturn. Toyoota pumps out a lot of inexpensive vehicles, while BMW, MB, Audi pump out 0.

    According to the economic forecasts I've read, we're heading into a period of a spiralling downturn in consumer confidence. People will still buy cars, and I for one would rather buy one with an incentive than without.

    BMW is looking to get into a more well-rounded game, to succeed will take some time. I like the new cars head and shoulders above the older models.

    You can say all you want the economy is not the issue, but it's much easier to sell a $15K car than a $60K car.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    MB might have had it's best July ever, but overall YTD US sales are down 3%. I notice you didn't mention the decline in Audi sales. Is that somehow attributable to the new Bangle designs too??? And how do you account for the 3 series sales decline? That model hasn't been changed yet. I suppose you'll say that's because it's the end of the line for the old design. As far as the new 5 series offering an isolated ride I have no idea where you found that. Read this aticle:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_- id=8011

    Or this one:

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2004/bmw/5series/100344931/roadtestart- icle.html?articleId=101320&tid=edmunds.e.roadtests.content...- BMW*

    Or this one:

    http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/mostwanted/2004/100665/article.htm- l

    But you know what, reading about how these cars drives is all very nice and well. I actually have one and I drove it againt the E500 and A6. I can tell you from first hand experience it is more of a "driver's car" than either. Isolating is about the last term I'd just to describe the experience. I mean, the performance numbers for the 545i are practically in line with sports cars. Have you even driven the new E60?

    I still don't understand why you think Toyoto or Nissan sales have anything to do with BMW sales. It's like comparing Seiko watch sales to Rolex sales. One (Seiko) probably averages about $100 a watch and the other (Rolex) probably averages about $3000. Which do you think sells more in the US? Someone else also mentioned that the Lexus and Infinity sales were at least partially driven by big incentives. BMW from what I saw when I bought mine, isn't offering any on the E60 yet. Bottom line though, if you'd rather drive a Lexus or Infinity rather than the new Bangled BMW's nothing I say can change that. I've driven the big Lexus sedan and I think it ride like a boat. No connection to the road whatsoever. It's as if you ride in it rather than drive it.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Opps, sorry MB US sales overall are down 2% YTD not 3% as I said in my last post (that was through May I think). Here's a link to the article:

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/08/03/207247.html

    Note the grand total line.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    According to this article in AutoWeek, Z4 sales are down 25.4 percent while roadster sales are down 21.1 percent for the first half of 2004. Because the Z4 is the newest in the segment, sales were expected to be better and "analysts" attribute much of its troubles to styling.

    http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=100418

    I'm not sure what to make of styling and sales. Most cars are ugly these days so they're all on an even playing field in this area as far as I'm concerned. Last year at this time I thought MBs were ugly. Considering what's around they are starting to look good to me. I think it's a case of the girls getting prettier at closing time. This will never happen with most new BMWs save for the 6 coupe perhaps, but that kind of money gets you a new 997 911, a no-brainer IMO.

    With regard to the upcoming 3-series I think they're starting to get a clue that styling has to be reeled in. Many grossly exaggerated features particularly in the treatment of the lamps and those hideous trunk lids have disappeared. This design shows order, balanced proportions and discreet use of asymmetry. However they continue to appear hell-bent on change. Surface topography is busy— they're still crease-crazy—too much help from the spice rack. As seen here I give the 2006 3 a B minus whereas the 5, 7, Z4 and 6 convertible are scornfully stamped F in my book.

    If the 3 comes in with only iDrive for NAV as was rumored I think it may score immediate and sustained sales success. However the interior looks incredibly cheap so who knows .

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