For reasons that are yet unclear, BMW decided to continue building the X6 alongside the X5. The X6 came when the X5 was doing well and being hounded by the paparazzi. While it is built on the same basic platform, it has less space efficiency than the X5. Why stop there? Why not make an X3? I totally understand the idea of creating a truck in every price class; I just don’t know if I like the way this idea was executed.
The company then went on to produce the Gran Turismo cars. I had a hard time justifying the 5-series Gran Turismo (a car that seemingly does what a 5-Series wagon used to do). BMW’s response was to introduce a car that I absolutely cannot go to bat for, the 3-Series Gran Turismo. There was a time when wagons were very chic in Europe. Has that changed? Are “Gran Turismos” all the rage now? If so, somebody needs to run over to Ingolstadt and break the news to Audi. They make a wagon out of almost everything. BMW has gone from building station wagons to making something that doesn’t quite live up to the sleek 2010 Gran Turismo Concept that sold us on their new idea.
The firm has decided that they should flush out the bottom of the food chain as well. BMW’s 1-Series and 2-Series answer the question no one asked. Why not see how small a BMW can be and not be a Daihatsu?
In addition to the car/hatchback morph, the Pee Wee Leaguers and the Crossovers, it has been decreed that the heralded all-season performer lose its given name and become the 4-Series.
There are a lot of questions in my mind about the decisions being made at Bavarian Motor Works. There is also a lot of admiration. BMW has begun a system of creating a separate world unto itself; a world in which you enter and realize that there is a car for every area in your life. An X7 will keep Munich machine buyers from defecting to Escalades and QX’s. Forget a Panamera, we have a Gran Turismo that looks almost as ugly. Were you thinking of buying a Subaru BRZ? Nah, get a 2-series. Concerns about gas mileage are squashed because they bought up Mini as well. They are also stretching that lineup for every kind of Mini-enthusiast. You can drive through every phase of the apocalypse – from delusional beginning to fuel-rationing, cannibalizing end – in a BMW. What niche is BMW trying to fill with a 2-Series in the U.S.? If BMW is a symbol of success here, then why would I need a car in the same size class as a Hyundai Accent with a blue propeller on the back? What member of BMW’s clientele would need a wagon? Who wants that when we have great SUV’s and Gran Turismos?
BMW wants to make sure that, no matter what, you buy a BMW. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts”. They plan to handle the automotive needs of every well-to-do upwardly mobile soon-to-be or have-always-been successful individual; a plan that a certain despot tried to institute more than 60 years ago.
With that in mind, maybe the reason for this strategy IS clear. Consumers have so many choices now that one cannot afford to allow them to defect because a niche is left unattended. BMW may well be in the initial stages of a vision that GM used to have of being an actual “car for all seasons”.