Thursday, December 6, 2012

BMW, Brand Heritage, and You.

Hello, Bavarian Motor Werks. First heard of you in the late 70’s when suddenly you were beyond cool if you were driving one. Second best was a “foreign” car, namely one of those Japanese brands that were starting to grab market share from the Big Three and AMC. I fondly recall everyone poking fun at my Chevy despite it being the most reputable vehicle owned in my group of friends.

The BMW craze started when a friend of a friend got a brand new one. Then another bought one, though his was slightly used. My boyfriend took me with him to the local dealer where he had selected a creamy yellow 320i two-door, with black Recaro bucket seats and a stick shift! $13,000 ($43,300 today) worth of German produced steel, machinery, and yuppie coolness. I’ll never forget what the salesman said to him at delivery: “Take it easy for the first 1,000 miles, then beat on it.”

Wow; bet dealers of domestic cars weren’t saying that!

And I loved spotting older BMWs just so I could coo “Two thousand toooooo”.

And that new Beemer? I learned to drive a stick in that vehicle after refusing to drive my boyfriend’s sister’s Toyota, which was too little and scary for me to be in.

We survived a flood in that car. Got out in time as the water was gushing in. Don’t ask!

On a snowy, chilly, January night, I put my knees through the glove box and smashed the windshield of that car as a car swerved into our side of the road and hit us head on. 

Two and a half years later, I was working in the automotive industry for a competitive brand, also European. I fondly kept track of the changes of the core 3 and 5 Series, drooled over the 6-Series, and watched as BMW’s product line expanded and their reputation grew. 

And now I’m reading the headlines. No more 3-Series coupe and convertible? Those body styles are going to be the FOUR-Series? And the rationale for this is to reposition these vehicles and thus get more dollars for them? Sounds like the end of a good run!

Let’s see now. The 320i 2-door in today’s dollars is about $43,300. Starting price for the coupes today is $35,595. Does it appear that perhaps BMW made today’s car too affordable and wants to re-establish exclusivity? Well, the new 4-Series will be sportier and faster in an effort to rock the socks off any turbo enthusiast.

A word of caution, BMW. Heritage has played a big role in your marketing efforts; the 3-Series established a solid foothold for your brand in the U.S. starting in 1975 with little to cower about; well, okay, maybe that 318Ti, however, that’s about it! A name change could hurt your brand; did you talk to customers and folks who are considering the brand to get some evidence on how this will all shake out? Remember when Ford changed the name of their best seller Taurus?

The 3-Series is THE best seller for BMW. Sales reporting for the brand will never look the same, and it will appear that the sales for the series will appear to be shrinking in 2013 vs. 2012. Ah, industry insiders will know better!

Click here for a concept of the new 4-Series. According to the LA Times article, a production vehicle is expected to make an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

BMW recently used this garage band tune in one of their commercials. Did they know that Land Rover used the same Sonics tune several years before? Tune in to the modlandUSA website, the Facebook pageTwitter, and/or Google+

1 comment:

Shannon Grissom said...

Agreed.Name changes can lead to loss of momentum...