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      08-13-2008, 11:02 AM   #46
Jack in Jax
Second Lieutenant
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Drives: Pearson 424 Ketch
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Jacksonville FL


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There apparently is far more change afoot at BMW AG than dicing up the new technologies among the various geographic markets. For those who haven't read the recent announcements about how BMW plans to approach sales in the USA, you might want to check out:

http://stage.bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2937

I'm new here and using this & other forums (fora?) to build my knowledge base on BMW products. Much to my surprise, after coming back into the car marketplace after 8 years, I find it a bit of a challenge to understand the consequences that come with some of these high-end, technology-laden brands - and especially so the BMW product. So far, after reading many a Roundel, CCA website owner comments, and forum comments from many owners of late model BMWs, I'm left to wonder if BMW is shifting left while the USA marketplace is shifting right.

A fair comment, I think, is that it's been part of BMW's long-term strategic plan to utilize technology to lever up the performance of their cars. Consequently, as often happens in organizations which find something is working, technology shifts from being a means to an end to becoming an end of its own. And as was mentioned above, there's only so much technology a given manufacturer can develop and introduce in a given amount of time. So...we see 'answers' to questions that were never asked (the removal of the oil dipstick being BMW's epitome of 'technology for its own sake') while the new iDrive and DCT lumber along towards introduction.

Here's a Q for everyone, posed by the link above: Are North American buyers really going to embrace the shift to a 'Pull' sales strategy at their local dealers? My perception is that a meaningful slice of new NA car buyers, once they wade through the brand choices and check their options boxes, want their cars soon(er), not later. Yet BMW's plan is to lower dealership inventories and invite more factory orders. That sales strategy strikes me as a bit Eurocentric. (Let's get Americans to behave more like our other markets, since it's more works better for us.')

BTW in answer to an earlier Q in this thread, a news item in a Spring Roundel gave an estimated price for the turbo'd diesel in the 335i as $4K. The city/hwy mpg estimate (combined with an estimated $4.50/gal for diesel fuel) meant a 5 year/15,000 miles/year payback period, as the improvement in mileage performance isn't that stunning. Not a terribly compelling rationale for the typical North American buyer.

Jack