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      09-05-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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BMW - The Brand. Is it Changing?

Brewing a debate......

Branding/Brand Recognition has over the years become one of the most critical factors in any industry - including autos - it spells the quality, durability, and performance of any product. BMW has created an excellent brand - looked at by most as one of the highest quality for the masses - while also retaining an extremely loyal following.

My question to this board is - with all these new models coming out / have come out in the past few years - 6 series coupe, 1m, m4, x5m, x3, etc......all sharing similar styling cues/target customer overlap/ etc.

Does anyone get a feeling like BMW is diluting their brand? I do.
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      09-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #2
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The Brand has already been diluted, case in point. This past Saturday I was at my local dealer getting my inspection done, for a moment I wandered to the sales dept and it was booming. Everyone was drooling over the new X1, a fine vehicle indeed but c'mon let's be real it's no Ultimate Driving Machine. BMW has take the brand to a level never seen before, way up there with Apple and such. I understand it has to do that to stay in business, it cannot live off the enthusiasts alone there are just not enough of us to keep them in business. Personally I don't mine that as long as they keep churning out great driver's cars like the 1 and 3 series. I have already given up on all the other models, like the 5 and 7 series. Those have gone into the luxury segment and won't come back to the driver's arena for the foreseeable future, and I'm fine with that. I can't afford them anyways and they're too big for my taste. As long as BMW provides a 2 or 3 models that carry "the Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan into the future, they'll be fine. Of course they have to be offer decent power, be rwd, 3400 Lbs, and offer a manual transmission.
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      09-05-2012, 06:32 PM   #3
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^ Yikes, don't associate BMW with Apple.
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      09-05-2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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Yes, it is cannibalism which has been a trend in the Auto industry for quite some time. BMW will unfortunately learn the hard way.
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      09-05-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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^ Yikes, don't associate BMW with Apple.
iDrive? i3? i8?

Need I go on?


huh? HUH?
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      09-05-2012, 07:32 PM   #6
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I counted no less than 69 model configurations on BMWUSA's website. It does seem a little ridiculous, but hey, if it works.

As a soon-to-be owner of an X1, I take offense to the remark about it not being an ultimate driving machine.

Having owned a 330Ci E46, Z4 E85, 135i E82, and an X3 E83, they've all had a better driving experience than much of the competition in the same form factor.

I thank BMW for making the 1 series (and the X1) so that I can have a quick, small, relatively lightweight BMW that I can afford. The 3,5,7 and X's have all become large, bloated, and expensive. Plus, they refuse to bring over a hatchback, so the X1 is a good compromise.
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      09-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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On top of all the hot mess BMW is churning out, now they're producing "gran coupes" of their coupes. These are simply 4 door versions of their coupes that are simply differently styled sedans.
There is a 5 series sedan, then there is a 6 series coupe. Now, there is a 6 series
"gran coupe". Why?
If the 5 series is too bland, then just make a nicer looking 5 sedan. Does BMW really need a "gran coupe" 6 series?
I believe there are plans for a 4 series "gran coupe" too. So, there is a new F30 sedan.
Then comes the new 4 series coupe based on the 3 series sedan, then there will be a 4 series gran coupe, which is simply a differently styled 3 series.

It boggles with WHY?!
That's a lot of sedans with not much different other than styling. Too many models.
Does this mean we'll see a new 2 series coupe, and then a 2 series "gran coupe/4 door", and then a 1/2 series based sedan? It's too much.
I'm looking forward to seeing a 1/2 series sedan, which hopefully will fill the size gap that has opened up with the larger new 3 series.
A 1/2 series sedan, sized like the E46 3, with an N55 and N20 will be a big seller, more so than a 4 series gran coupe, at least I think it will.

I would love to see BMW refocus on the "ultimate driving machine" with the 1 and 2 series. It should be a hatchback, a coupe, and a sedan. Light weight, big power, with the BMW DRIVING enthusiast as the target.
The current 3 series is as big of a BMW sedan as I'm willing to tolerate. By the next gen 3 series, BMW will lose me. If the new 2 coupe and sedan don't drip with ultimate enthusiasm for the driver, I'll find something somewhere else.

I've been on the F30 site for a while now, and there is a distinct difference between the members there and the members here.
There are way too many members on the F30 site who welcome the larger size and creature comforts of the new 3 series MORE than they value it's driving/handling characteristics. It's amazing how many people LOVE the new "ECO" pro MPG driver setting, and this from people who went with a "sport line" and "Msport" 3 series. It's more of a 'technoluxury' enthusiast forum than a driving enthusiast forum.
Yes, the new 3 is larger, but BMW kept the weight down, and the sport/Msport versions are still the best 'sport sedans' on the market, except for the Audi S4, which is an excellent drivers machine and gives the 335i a run for it's status.
That forum is full of members who wholly welcome all these new BMW variants, so much so that I think BMW can now build a volume FWD model and there will be a lot of takers, sadly enough.

Last edited by RPM90; 09-05-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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      09-05-2012, 08:47 PM   #8
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bmw needs to constantly change in order to survive. Companys who don't change tend to stay behind and fail. If BMW did not make those cars, the X1, X3, X5M, which are great sellers, who knows where they would be today.

Granted, they still make the ultimate driving machine in my opinion with the 1/3 series and of course the M models
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      09-05-2012, 08:49 PM   #9
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^ Yikes, don't associate BMW with Apple.
I bought my car at Apple BMW!!!
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      09-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #10
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I think BMW has decided they want to set their sights on the Lexus, Infinity, M-B crowd. The days of the fun little BMW will come to an end with the current 1er.

BMW's brand now stands for a stylish luxury (comfort) car that happens to be sporty for it's size and mass. You always paid more for a BMW but now it really seems like you are paying a lot more for STYLE than for "the ultimate driving machine" and they defiantly sell up the style well above the performance, Just look at the Welt in Munich. So Artsy, so slick, so....stylish.

The real beginning of the end was in my opinion the first Z4. It replaced a very raw little roadster with a 2 seat boulevard cruiser. Sure some could say the SAV's but those were horrible SUV's much closer to an "Ultimate Driving Machine" than what the current X5 is which is a bloody big sloppy mess. Now the entire lineup is more about Lifestyle, and Artistic style, and.....elegance..... The new M cars are a pathetic joke of over wrought luxury and pre-recorded engine sounds. And now they are confusing things even more with these trim lines. So a 3 will be Base, Luxury, Modern, Sport, and M Sport, plus the actual M3.

I love my 128, but man was I disappointed when the Subaru BRZ came out. Low, mean, aggressive. Everything the pot bellied high belt lined 1 isn't, but the old E46 Coupe was. I mean I got my 1 because of the wicked '03 330Ci Coupe my father had before he flabbed out for the E60 before coming to his senses and moving to the M6. My 1 drives a lot like the E46 did, But you sit a bit higher, my hair is in the headliner, it doesn't have that visceral "Get the F*&$ out of my way" look, and the top of the door is way up near shoulder height.

BMW wants more market share, and they want more of that share in the upper end of the market. That means they are now a brand about prestige and style, and over trendy looking dealerships. I remember what my dealership used to look like back in 2002, simple, comfortable, a little "lived in" and full of machines that looked a lot more Function than form. Now, god, I don't even feel like I'm "the right kind of person" for my dealership anymore, it's all cold apple looking surfaces, and people dressed up WAY too much for selling cars. More art museum than shed for the ultimate driving machine.

But that sells more cars to more people. They are just responding to the gaudy ultra luxury global market. The upscale want a car that goes with their overpriced ugly watches, handbags, and iPhones. Style is King, Not even Porsche could fight it.
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      09-05-2012, 09:57 PM   #11
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I want the BMW from the 1980s back....
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      09-05-2012, 10:35 PM   #12
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iDrive? i3? i8?
iDon'tLike.
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      09-06-2012, 04:23 AM   #13
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I want the BMW from the 1980s back....
Yes and early to mid 90s too.
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      09-06-2012, 07:27 AM   #14
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Same thing with Porsche. They still make great sport cars, but if they have to sell lame SUV's to stay in business I am ok with that.
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      09-06-2012, 08:27 AM   #15
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I bought my car at Apple BMW!!!
Cranked me up
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      09-06-2012, 09:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guildenstern View Post
I think BMW has decided they want to set their sights on the Lexus, Infinity, M-B crowd. The days of the fun little BMW will come to an end with the current 1er.

BMW's brand now stands for a stylish luxury (comfort) car that happens to be sporty for it's size and mass. You always paid more for a BMW but now it really seems like you are paying a lot more for STYLE than for "the ultimate driving machine" and they defiantly sell up the style well above the performance, Just look at the Welt in Munich. So Artsy, so slick, so....stylish.

The real beginning of the end was in my opinion the first Z4. It replaced a very raw little roadster with a 2 seat boulevard cruiser. Sure some could say the SAV's but those were horrible SUV's much closer to an "Ultimate Driving Machine" than what the current X5 is which is a bloody big sloppy mess. Now the entire lineup is more about Lifestyle, and Artistic style, and.....elegance..... The new M cars are a pathetic joke of over wrought luxury and pre-recorded engine sounds. And now they are confusing things even more with these trim lines. So a 3 will be Base, Luxury, Modern, Sport, and M Sport, plus the actual M3.

I love my 128, but man was I disappointed when the Subaru BRZ came out. Low, mean, aggressive. Everything the pot bellied high belt lined 1 isn't, but the old E46 Coupe was. I mean I got my 1 because of the wicked '03 330Ci Coupe my father had before he flabbed out for the E60 before coming to his senses and moving to the M6. My 1 drives a lot like the E46 did, But you sit a bit higher, my hair is in the headliner, it doesn't have that visceral "Get the F*&$ out of my way" look, and the top of the door is way up near shoulder height.

BMW wants more market share, and they want more of that share in the upper end of the market. That means they are now a brand about prestige and style, and over trendy looking dealerships. I remember what my dealership used to look like back in 2002, simple, comfortable, a little "lived in" and full of machines that looked a lot more Function than form. Now, god, I don't even feel like I'm "the right kind of person" for my dealership anymore, it's all cold apple looking surfaces, and people dressed up WAY too much for selling cars. More art museum than shed for the ultimate driving machine.

But that sells more cars to more people. They are just responding to the gaudy ultra luxury global market. The upscale want a car that goes with their overpriced ugly watches, handbags, and iPhones. Style is King, Not even Porsche could fight it.
FWIW the whole pre-recorded engine sounds in the F10 M5 thing is overblown, its pretty much unnoticeable, and the car is every bit worthy of its M badge. I think without seeing the new M3/4 and M2 and 1/2ers its a bit premature to bemoan the end of bmw making good drivers cars. Globalization (and particularly the exploding asian market that really just wants cars as status symbols) is going to force them to make cars that aren't for enthusiasts in order to survive, without having to become a more niche brand (which would mean higher costs across the board). It doesn't preclude them from also still making good cars though.
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      09-06-2012, 09:14 AM   #17
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Same thing with Porsche. They still make great sport cars, but if they have to sell lame SUV's to stay in business I am ok with that.
This.
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      09-06-2012, 09:16 AM   #18
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As a soon-to-be owner of an X1, I take offense to the remark about it not being an ultimate driving machine.
I didn't mean rip the X1 in any way, I checked it out and its a fine car indeed. I like that BMW is focus on making smaller cars but lets be real its not gonna drive like a 1er. It's a small SUV or SAV whatever you want to call it, 10 years ago who would of thought that BMW would be making small SUVs?
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      09-06-2012, 09:26 AM   #19
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Same thing with Porsche. They still make great sport cars, but if they have to sell lame SUV's to stay in business I am ok with that.
Didn't VW just swallow up Porsche? Guess they didn't sell enough.
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      09-06-2012, 09:59 AM   #20
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I think people look at it all the wrong way. I mean people now days have more choices than ever before in everything. People have different needs and requirements. The why it should be looked it is that BMW are trying to make the ultimate driving machine in each category they enter.

I went and saw the 6er GranCoupe for example couple weeks ago, same size as a 5 series, but totally different car I feel the seating position is different. The roof line inside is totally different, the 5er seems like a more practical car. With 6er being more of a stylish car because of the body/roofline interior (Also more expensive). Just depends on what person would want.


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Didn't VW just swallow up Porsche? Guess they didn't sell enough.
Porsche was trying to buy VW then something happened and made the tables turn ending with VW buying up Porsche.
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      09-06-2012, 11:05 AM   #21
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I don't really like the idea of every BMW motor having a turbo on it but it seems to be where we are headed. I also agree with the opinion that BMW has to change to survive.

If I were in the market for a new SUV right now, I would look hard at a X1. I want something big enough to tow my 2000 lb boat but I do not want anything huge. I'd be even more interested if they brought the turbo diesel model here. The possibility of european delivery is also of interest. I wouldn't expect a X1 to go around an autorcross course like my 128i but a couple years ago we had a X5 participate and it did pretty well. It has a lot of Dinan enhancements but I was surprised. About 3 years ago one of the instructors at the PC gave hot laps to a number of people in a X6M. Some got a little "sea-sick" but the time he set was within 5 seconds of the time of another instructor in a M3. Both had 3 passengers aboard but were within 10 seconds of the fastest time in the autocross. BMW SAVs may not look like the ultimate driving machine but some of them can get around a road course pretty quickly.

If you define BMW by the inline 6 cylinder or as a sporty coupe then they are inconsistent with most models these days. If you define them as a car with unusually good handling for the type vehicle it is, I think they may still be consistent with their history.

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      09-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #22
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For the last couple of years at least, I have thought BMW is the Apple of cars but that isn't such a bad thing for value minded driving enthusiasts that like to drive and are willing to buy the lower margin base models. In a way, the people that check most of the luxury/style options on a BMW are subsidizing the people who don't since BMW would have to rethink their pricing strategy if people started avoiding most of the high margin options.

With Apple computers, you can often get a very good bang for your buck computer if you buy the entry level models and don't shop at the Apple Store. With BMWs, you can now get pretty good value if you buy an entry level model(128i, X1 or 328i) via European Delivery and are light on the options. Like Apple, BMW gets you from a value perspective if you go much beyond the lower end models.

I just bought my first BMW, an X1, and I am actually a value buyer even though I could have afforded a much more expensive car so I am doing ED and going very light on the options. Would I have preferred a 4 door hatchback or even sedan version of the 128i? In all likelihood yes but I can't buy what is not offered in the US. No matter what car I got even if I spent 100k, the car I bought was going to be a compromise in one way or another.

If you really think of the new 3 series as an updated version of a really old 5 series...its a great car even though I would have styled some parts a bit different.

A better looking and more diversified 1 series lineup is where BMW has let driving enthusiasts down since the 1 series is clearly the replacement for the old 3 series.
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