BMW's problem is they are expanding the brand too much to fill too many niches an its hurting their bottom line because its making their cars lose on of their major appeals - exclusivity, or more so, perceived exclusivity.
They should have continued to reach upmarket to make it more luxury-focused. Many years ago when this started they would have been better off introducing a new 8 series instead of a 1 series - it wouldnt be as good for their bottom line, but long term it would have been better because it would put BMW back at the top of the sport-luxury market not just the sporty german car market. That is their second big mistake imo, focusing too much on "sport" and not enough on luxury. BMWs in Europe are not neccessarily luxury cars, but in the US they have been for a long time. Now you can order cloth in your E92 M3, they are putting tiny 4 cylinders back in their cars (which are more a result of MPG standards as opposed to any economy problem)... its just not good
I mean come on BMW, do you really need the 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, X1, X3, X5, X6, and soon i3?
BMW's lineup used to be the 3, 5, 7 and occasionally a 6/8 series high-end car. Add in the trucks, X3 and X5 - thats fine. But then add in a bottom-of-the-market 1 series..? Okay, you want to draw in more fans to establish a larger customer base. That makes sense. BMW X6? Okay BMW, you kind of lost me, but maybe people really like ugly cars and really hate practicality. As long as its got a BMW badge people will buy it right? Oh and now you are making the 3 series all 4 doors and the 4 series will be 2 doors? So all your even numbers are coupes? Like the 1 series coupe? Well hey BMW thats fine, your new naming scheme makes no sense and was just stolen from Audi, but we can still be original. We can be original enough to take what has always been a 2-door luxury top-of-the-market car, our 6 series, and reinvent it! We will turn it into a sedan! Its not like the M6 already shares its drivetrain with a sedan, I think its a good idea to create a sedan version of the M6. After all, Germans invented the super sedan right? Oh, im sorry, whats that? They already were producing an F10 M5?
BMW used to be a market leader, but they for some reason stopped using their business model that had been so succesful for so long and instead are now emulating their competitors... they need to be setting themselves apart, not blending in
Im not saying I dont like new BMWs, I really love them, have you sat in a new 7 series? Its like sitting inside of a cow. But their low end offerings are muddling the perceived "luxury" connotation with BMW in the US, their over-extension into niche markets is stretching their resources thin, and overall their business model just seems to have completely changed since 2000.
I dont think we have any threat of BMW going the way of Saab, but I would hate to see BMW go the way of most other automakers, making bland boring bullshit for the masses. Unfortunately this does SEEM to be happening. Lets hope cars like the 1M show that there are still real BMW enthusiasts somewhere in Bavaria