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      02-04-2013, 10:39 AM   #1
ynguldyn
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Did BMW NA block RWD wagons?

Over the last year, BMW built fourteen US market 328i RWD Tourings (F273100 through F273113, built between January and September 2012) and four 328d RWD Tourings (F775500-F775504, started in November 2012, with the fourth one as recently as January 31st, with two more planned). This virtually guarantees that BMW the manufacturer was ready to sell them to us. The just published MY2014 list, however, only shows xDrive versions of these cars. I can't think of any other reason for this absence but BMW NA rejecting them.

I live in Boston, but I never felt the need for an AWD vehicle, because my cars always wear season appropriate rubbers. I'm being forced to spend extra $2K for 200lbs of dead weight. Those bastards at NA HQ know full well that there is no alternative on the market, and people like me will still buy those cars. I'm angry.

On the other hand, I wonder if maybe a targeted letter/call campaign has a better chance of succeeding in this case, because the cars already exist.

Opinions?
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      02-04-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Over the last year, BMW built fourteen US market 328i RWD Tourings (F273100 through F273113, built between January and September 2012) and four 328d RWD Tourings (F775500-F775504, started in November 2012, with the fourth one as recently as January 31st, with two more planned). This virtually guarantees that BMW the manufacturer was ready to sell them to us. The just published MY2014 list, however, only shows xDrive versions of these cars. I can't think of any other reason for this absence but BMW NA rejecting them.

I live in Boston, but I never felt the need for an AWD vehicle, because my cars always wear season appropriate rubbers. I'm being forced to spend extra $2K for 200lbs of dead weight. Those bastards at NA HQ know full well that there is no alternative on the market, and people like me will still buy those cars. I'm angry.

On the other hand, I wonder if maybe a targeted letter/call campaign has a better chance of succeeding in this case, because the cars already exist.

Opinions?

The problem is that the wagon market itself is infinitesimally small here in the US. Add to that the fact that most of the buying public has been brainwashed into thinking they NEED AWD or they'll die. There's a significant cost associated with federalizing each configuration. It doesn't make fiscal sense to offer multiple flavors for such a miniscule market. I personally am holding out hope that they WILL bring over something RWD (and manual!) at some point, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
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      02-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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There's one interesting aspect: it seems the decision to market specific models usually comes earlier in the process. For example, there are no US spec test F20/F21s, no US spec test F11s, no US spec test F30s with drivetrain configurations we don't have now, etc. These wagons seem to be a very rare exception to the rule.
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      02-04-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
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xDrive and 335i would be fine by me. xDrive + 4-banger = No Thanks
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      02-04-2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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I'm thinking four 328i RWD wagons constitutes a full model year's production run. (Anyway, wouldn't nos. 500-504 be five cars?)
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      02-04-2013, 06:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Over the last year, BMW built fourteen US market 328i RWD Tourings (F273100 through F273113, built between January and September 2012) and four 328d RWD Tourings (F775500-F775504, started in November 2012, with the fourth one as recently as January 31st, with two more planned). This virtually guarantees that BMW the manufacturer was ready to sell them to us. The just published MY2014 list, however, only shows xDrive versions of these cars. I can't think of any other reason for this absence but BMW NA rejecting them.

I live in Boston, but I never felt the need for an AWD vehicle, because my cars always wear season appropriate rubbers. I'm being forced to spend extra $2K for 200lbs of dead weight. Those bastards at NA HQ know full well that there is no alternative on the market, and people like me will still buy those cars. I'm angry.

On the other hand, I wonder if maybe a targeted letter/call campaign has a better chance of succeeding in this case, because the cars already exist.

Opinions?
2 things:

- Link to the MY 2014 list please?
- There IS an alternative, you just don't like it but this is a personal taste issue... Volvo, Subaru, etc.
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      02-04-2013, 06:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ft1337 View Post
2 things:

- Link to the MY 2014 list please?
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- There IS an alternative, you just don't like it but this is a personal taste issue... Volvo, Subaru, etc.
None of them has anything most potential BMW Touring buyers would cross-shop.

(I'm not talking about just myself, think about it from the NA Marketing point of view, how they would analyze the potential to lose a perspective F31 buyer to another brand.)
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      02-05-2013, 09:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynguldyn View Post
Over the last year, BMW built fourteen US market 328i RWD Tourings (F273100 through F273113, built between January and September 2012) and four 328d RWD Tourings (F775500-F775504, started in November 2012, with the fourth one as recently as January 31st, with two more planned). This virtually guarantees that BMW the manufacturer was ready to sell them to us. The just published MY2014 list, however, only shows xDrive versions of these cars. I can't think of any other reason for this absence but BMW NA rejecting them.

I live in Boston, but I never felt the need for an AWD vehicle, because my cars always wear season appropriate rubbers. I'm being forced to spend extra $2K for 200lbs of dead weight. Those bastards at NA HQ know full well that there is no alternative on the market, and people like me will still buy those cars. I'm angry.

On the other hand, I wonder if maybe a targeted letter/call campaign has a better chance of succeeding in this case, because the cars already exist.

Opinions?
probably cant sell them to anyone but you. To me that size vehicle is rather pointless. People seem to lean towards X1 or X3. AWD is not evil and th e200 lbs you are carrying around is like travelling with 1 big friend. Amazing in winter and transparent in summer.
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      02-05-2013, 10:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 335BBS View Post
probably cant sell them to anyone but you. To me that size vehicle is rather pointless. People seem to lean towards X1 or X3. AWD is not evil and th e200 lbs you are carrying around is like travelling with 1 big friend. Amazing in winter and transparent in summer.
Im a happy owner of an F31 328i, it gives me 99% of what the F30 is capable of performance-wise but with a bigger boot, to boot (pa-dum tshhh!). And thatīs what itīs about; having a fun car but still beeing able to load more shit into it. So, the only pointless thing here, is your comment.
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      02-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Vitoco View Post
Im a happy owner of an F31 328i, it gives me 99% of what the F30 is capable of performance-wise but with a bigger boot, to boot (pa-dum tshhh!). And thatīs what itīs about; having a fun car but still beeing able to load more shit into it. So, the only pointless thing here, is your comment.
Its just my opinion that is apparently shared by lots of people as BMW clearly doesnt sell many. How much more room is there? Do you pack it to the ceiling?
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      02-05-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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I just want an F31 with a stick shift. xDrive or not xDrive. Even an X1 would be appealing with a stick shift.

Lame BMW is taking all the fun out of useful cars.
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      02-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #12
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probably cant sell them to anyone but you. To me that size vehicle is rather pointless. People seem to lean towards X1 or X3. AWD is not evil and th e200 lbs you are carrying around is like travelling with 1 big friend. Amazing in winter and transparent in summer.
My wife has an X1, but I've left BMW. An F31 with rwd and a manual would bring me back. Two awd cars in TX is just stupid (as is one, but there was no other way to get the N55 in something close to a wagon format).

The F31 is a good bit larger inside and out than the X1, and a good bit lighter and lower to the ground than the X3. If it were offered with RWD and a manual, it would differentiate itself from those two quite well, with greater practicality (and arguably better looks) than the F30.

I realize my desires don't gel with BMWNA, so I don't really have to worry about buying an F31 as they'll never offer me what I want.
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      02-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #13
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I'd take a RWD F31 over AWD F31. If BMW didn't offer a RWD F31, I'd get a X1 or X3 instead.
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      02-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #14
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probably cant sell them to anyone but you.
I see you've already been proven wrong here.
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      02-05-2013, 11:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BavarianFanatic View Post
The problem is that the wagon market itself is infinitesimally small here in the US. Add to that the fact that most of the buying public has been brainwashed into thinking they NEED AWD or they'll die. There's a significant cost associated with federalizing each configuration. It doesn't make fiscal sense to offer multiple flavors for such a miniscule market. I personally am holding out hope that they WILL bring over something RWD (and manual!) at some point, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

I'm so tired of my co-workers saying, "Oh I have AWD so I'm ok I don't need snow tires"...as I drive by them skidding in the parking lot full of snow, in my RWD car WITH snow tires.
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      02-05-2013, 11:15 AM   #16
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How much more room is there? Do you pack it to the ceiling?
There's a lot of room. X3 has 63.3 cu.ft. with seats down. F31 has 54.3. X1 has 47.7. So, it's right in the middle - on paper. In reality, X3 wins only by having more height, its floor space is virtually the same if not less (the rear overhang on the X3 is actually shorter than on F31). So, unless you really pack the car to the ceiling, an F31 would be at least as useable in hauling stuff as an X3. All that with 300lbs less weight, 20% fuel savings, and one billion times more fun to drive.

X vehicles are popular because most people are afraid of driving, not because they have better utility.
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      02-05-2013, 11:34 AM   #17
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Its just my opinion that is apparently shared by lots of people as BMW clearly doesnt sell many. How much more room is there? Do you pack it to the ceiling?
My daughter has a 3er wagon (E9x version) and she's a college student and she and her friends pack that thing to gills when they go on their little trips. Even so, if they had the added room of and an X3, they'd just pack more stuff in it. That said, outside of those trips, there's nothing in it, but it drives far better -- at all times -- than an X3.

I got her the wagon for several reasons:
  • I don't believe in using a truck as the primary "car." I also have an SUV, but I drive it only when there's a specific need. It's not my everyday vehicle. I feel this way because I hate how SUVs block the view of drivers behind them on the highway and next to them (or, God forbid, between two of them) in parking lots. And there're too damn many of them on the road because folks buy them as daily drivers and then drive around all by themselves.
  • Wagons have more than enough space for all but the most rarefied and specific of circumstances.
  • Wagons handle better than SUVs
  • Wagons use less fuel (not a lot, but for a college kid, every penny helps as they generally seem never to have enough money and, for my kids at least, their only source of income is mine).
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      02-05-2013, 11:45 AM   #18
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Yea chalk me up as another guy who would only buy the F31 RWD, manual trans. I want fun and practicality, and I'll run snows regardless so forget the AWD.

If the X1 sDrive came in stick I may have considered it, but it would eventually lose to the next gen WRX assuming that turns out even half-decent.
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      02-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
I got her the wagon for several reasons:
  • I don't believe in using a truck as the primary "car." I also have an SUV, but I drive it only when there's a specific need. It's not my everyday vehicle. I feel this way because I hate how SUVs block the view of drivers behind them on the highway and next to them (or, God forbid, between two of them) in parking lots. And there're too damn many of them on the road because folks buy them as daily drivers and then drive around all by themselves.
  • Wagons have more than enough space for all but the most rarefied and specific of circumstances.
  • Wagons handle better than SUVs
  • Wagons use less fuel (not a lot, but for a college kid, every penny helps as they generally seem never to have enough money and, for my kids at least, their only source of income is mine).
And wagons also have shorter braking distances than SUVs.

I understand the difficulty in bringing manual transmissions in a niche vehicle like a wagon, but at least bring RWD.
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      02-05-2013, 12:31 PM   #20
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And wagons also have shorter braking distances than SUVs.

I understand the difficulty in bringing manual transmissions in a niche vehicle like a wagon, but at least bring RWD.
This is my primary reasoning - not just braking but handling in general. This whole SUV (technically SAV in BMW world) is really nothing more than tall station wagons. Anything short of an actual truck-based SUV is just a car. They're heavy. They don't handle particularly well. They offer a high vantage point for the driver and passengers, but that's about it. I have a real SUV that I use for hauling lots of people, lots of stuff and for towing. But the other 98% of the time I don't need that much room or muscle.

We had an X3 and I hated the damn thing. It was very cramped with very little cargo capacity. You can try to compare volumetric space between the models, but the real world differences are slight. An F31 is very close to the cargo capacity of an E39 touring which is very useful. That very fact is actually what got me thinking about a new 3er to begin with. I've always had 5ers as the 3s were too small for my liking.

Now if they brought the F11 over to the US, I'd be at my dealer placing my order this very minute. M550d anyone?
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      02-05-2013, 12:45 PM   #21
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...X vehicles are popular because most people are afraid of driving, not because they have better utility.
I don't know that I believe that to be so.

SUVs aren't a new thing. I can recall my neighbors in the 1970s having a Chevy Suburban which first appeared prior to WW II.

What I do know is that SUVs typically were based on light-truck platforms. (Some folks here may recall that until the mind 2000s' SUV license plates said "truck" in most states.

SUVs gained massive popularity in the 1990s when the US auto industry needed a way to boost profits in light of higher fuel prices and better made and more efficient car-sized products coming from Europe and Japan, eroding standard car sales among the Detroit Big 3. As the 20th century was coming to a close Detroit was producing crap for cars, but they dominated and made the best trucks going, and they made huge profits on trucks and took losses, or broke even, on most cars they sold. Detroit car makers needed to reduce car sales and increase truck sales.

Now, reason would tell anyone that the typical family won't want a pickup truck, but a pickup truck platform outfitted with seats and a full body roof, resembling thus an elevated station wagon was something Americans could go for. So, GM, Ford and Chrysler capitalized on their dominance in the truck space and heavily promoted SUVs to the extent that they all but brought about the extinction of station wagons. Plus, whereas four wheel drive was largely unheard of on a car, it was quite natural to be found on a truck. So, you could buy a truck and not get stuck in the mud or snow, have room for your stuff. At the time, too, trucks were subject to far fewer regulations (due to their light truck classification). Some of you may recall that back in the day, when you got tags for an SUV, they said "truck" on them.

Now we all have witnessed what this really did for Detroit's car makers. First and foremost, it kept them alive and kicking until 2008/2009 when we had to bail them out. The Big 3 were producing crappy cars in the 1980s and 1990s and the emergence of the SUV and it's immense profitability also allowed GM, Ford and Chrysler to largely ignore advancing and improving their traditional car products, and that's exactly what they did, invest nearly nothing into car development. That is why we saw one platform and body style modestly tweaked and at once branded as a Caddy, Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, and Buick. Indeed, the Chevy Corvette was among the very few cars, it may have been the only one, Detroit made that had a unique identity.

So, the point is that SUVs are now popular because enough folks have yet to come to their senses and realize that they are driving trucks not cars. Even though the government put SUVs under the same regulations as cars, thus they don't get truck tags, they are still trucks at heart. SUVs are also popular because people want and need the utility of a station wagon, but because station wagons weren't profitable and SUVs were, the Big 3 by and large just stopped making station wagons and forced the SUV as the replacement for them. At the time of their advent, the SUV was new and different (thus cool/nifty) in the eyes of most folks, the ride was tuned to be closer to that of a car and the interior was essentially car-like but bigger.

And you know Americans: if it's bigger, it must be better.

And you know Americans: if some big corporation tells us that such and such is what we want/need and it's better, they wouldn't say that out of their own self interest and with no regard for yours and mine, or our collective benefit.

Is the SUV better for road safety? No. It dramatically reduces visibility of other drivers on the road.

Is the SUV safer to be in? Sometimes. If you respect that it's a truck and drive it like one, sure. If you think it's a car and drive it like one, not at all.

Has the SUV been better economically? No. We still had to bail out the Big 3, even after they made huge profits on SUV sales. (Huge is no understatement here-- 3 to 5 times the profit on a profitable car sold.) They use more resources than cars: more rubber, more fuel, more metal, more plastic, more oil, and cost more to buy in most cases (BMW being one of those exceptions).

Side note: It still amazes me that not one US car maker took the tack of sticking with wagons and simply investing to improve them and competing head to head with the foreign car makers. All three took exactly the same strategy at exactly the same time. Oligopolistic competition, based on that alone seems more like collusion than competition. And then what happened next, all three under took to purchase or merge with their European and Japanese competitors where possible, thus reducing the competition and driving down the quality of the competitors' products. You may recall that the quality of MB cars, during the period of its merger with Chrysler, dropped significantly; they were still solid and decent cars, but not nearly so much better as they had been before the merger.
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      02-05-2013, 02:13 PM   #22
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Side note: It still amazes me that not one US car maker took the tack of sticking with wagons and simply investing to improve them and competing head to head with the foreign car makers.
Let's not forget that one of the most powerful (I can't say "one of the best" because I have not yet driven one) wagons available in the US today is the CTS-V, so Cadillac gets props for that alone.

I'm curious whether your daughter was happy about you giving her a wagon. Sure, it's a BMW and they love the badge, but I can't imagine most young girls being too excited about driving a wagon.
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