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      07-03-2012, 06:59 PM   #4

Drives: 2016 435i Gran Coupe
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Vast Interwebs...

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I'm not trying to be a downer, but I think BMW has a trend to worry about here. I said the same thing last month and it still applies:

I'm worried that BMW has jeopardized the 3 Series, their core car and their traditional volume leader. In May, 3 Series sales were down 22% year over year with a brand new sedan design in the dealer showrooms (remember, sedans are the volume leading body style within the volume leading 3 Series) -- that was a very bad sign for the F30 and BMW in general. Now we see that June was also a bad month for the 3 Series.

I'm not buying the arguments about constrained supply -- you can search and find plenty of available F30 328i Sedans for sale in almost every region (335i Sedans seem a bit rare, but they always are relative to the 328i).

I believe the lines strategy for the F30 and the uncompetitive equipment packing is coming back to haunt BMW. The F30 feels like a bridge too far -- too much technology and not enough traditional BMW feel to justify the premium pricing. BMW has adjusted the equipment packages to some extent for MY2013, but the savings are not substantial. I believe they're going to need to do more to prop up sales.

Here in Southern California, I see new C250s everywhere, but I'm not seeing many new F30s -- last month I noted that I'd only 3 spotted so far in the previous 3 months. In June, I spotted 2 more new 3 Series sedans and far more new C Class sedans. I'm also seeing a larger number of new C Class coupes than expected and almost no new 3 Series Coupes. My concern is that the F30 is looking like an execution mistake on BMW's part and sales of the remaining E9X body styles are also suffering because of age.

And now, to make things worse, BMW has added the M-Sport package. The F30 packaging strategy is woefully overcomplicated, so much so that BMW's online configurator tool breaks repeatedly when you try to configure a car that supposely is allowable by the MY2013 order guide. Everything on the F30 has gotten so complicated that the software engineers probably couldn't find a way to implement the rules!

Overall, not good news on the passenger car side. SUVs are picking up some of the slack, but I don't think many SUV sales are coming at the expense of BMW's passenger cars -- I am firmly convinced that BMW is losing sales to competitors.