Originally Posted by simianspeedster
People keep trotting out variations of the supply excuse, but it's just not valid for mainstream buyers. Check out cars.com and you'll see there's plenty of 328i supply all around the country. Search any mainstream zip code with a 100 mile radius and you'll see plenty of available cars. The 335i is harder to find in volume, but the 328i has traditionally outsold the 335i by over 10 to 1, so that's not much of a factor in the big scheme of things. Picky people will always consider ordering, but supply isn't holding back mainstream sales to any substantive degree.
The problem is the car itself (underwhelming to drive, especially for a BMW), the terrible packaging strategy and the overambitious pricing. It also doesn't help that BMW has made the leases less attractive in recent months. There's no question that BMW is losing 3 Series sales to Audi and Mercedes which can only be viewed as a failure considering the current A4 and C Class models are fairly old and the F30 is new. BMW should seriously consider moving the mid-cycle refresh forward a year or so as Honda recently had to do with the Civic to get sales back on track and adding sales/lease incentives in the meanwhile.
It has little to do with the design of the car- it is selling well outside the US. From sources in Germany I have heard that there is no understanding as to why BMWNA chose to package cars as they did during the initial launch in February and why they have chosen to add more luxury to the car as standard while decreasing the sportiness.
Keep in mind that outside the US a 3 Series can be built as one likes, sport seats in any model, sports suspension in any model, Xenons in any model etc.
The car doesn't need a refresh- the people making product decisions need to refocus on customers needs rather than pushing packages and increasing the avg. sales price.
MB and Audi are reaping the rewards of marketing spending, trunk money and in general lower cost products- people are less loyal to a brand after the economic downturn than they were prior. Value is what people seek. Before the down turn people would spend more to have the so-called "best" now second best for less money is a better "deal". BMW in the US missed this.
As for the 7 series- it just had its LCI and supply is very limited hence the numbers. The 5 series has no excuse except lack of support.