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      03-15-2017, 05:45 PM   #1
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Mercedes and BMW Admit They Have Too Many Models, But the Solution Is a Bummer

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In recent years, premium automakers have run out of niches to expand into and have turned instead to what should be regarded as microscopic sub-niches. (How else to explain the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe, the Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe, or the Range Rover Evoque convertible?) But now both BMW and Mercedes-Benz have admitted that they are planning a cull of variant numbers in coming years. We're sad to report that it's traditional coupes and convertibles that are most likely to face the ax.

"The checkerboard of body styles and segments is rather full, although there are still a few to be finished," Ian Robertson, BMW's head of sales and marketing, told Car and Driver at the Geneva auto show. "We've got an X2 and an X7 coming, and there are a few others, but I also know because we've taken decisions that some body styles will be removed in the future."

Dieter Zetsche (whom Americans will remember as Dr. Z), now overall head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, agrees. "The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars," he told journalists at Geneva. "The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars. Which makes the business case for these vehicles less easy"

Although Zetsche insisted that Mercedes will continue to offer two-door models, he admitted they will not come "in the variety we are having them right now." With both coupe and cabriolet versions of the C-class, E-class, and S-class currently being offered alongside the SLK and SL roadsters and the AMG GT coupe and convertible, there's obvious potential to simplify the range.

BMW's Robertson said that the current 4-series coupe and convertible have been a success, but he admitted the company has struggled with open sports cars. The segment that is not really progressing is the roadster segment, he said. "It never really recovered after 2008, and it never picked up in Asia. Therefore we're working with Toyota on a platform to try to gain some economies of scale."

While the Toyota joint venture will give both companies new sports cars - we're anticipating a Z5 badge on the BMW - Robertson suggests that larger two-doors are also at risk.

"There's definitely more of a move toward four-door coupes", he said. "We've done the Gran Coupes; they've really worked. People like the lower seating position and the sporty dynamics but also the fact there's a door in the back. It's fair to say that when we look at the checkerboard, because of the new things we're putting in, there are some things we can take out."

So if you're coveting a current BMW or Mercedes two-door coupe or convertible, the time to act might be now. Don't count on being able to get a next-generation one.
http://blog.caranddriver.com/mercede...n-is-a-bummer/

Last edited by Mo@BMWofFairfax; 03-15-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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      03-15-2017, 09:02 PM   #2
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A sensible analysis with a bit too alarmist a slant and perhaps too aggressive a timeline.

No doubt some models will be discontinued in the coming years, but I think it's more than safe to say that lower end four seat coupes and convertibles will remain, including performance models like the BMW's M2 and M4, and Mercedes' C63. Likewise, the AMG GT and legitimate near-exotic sports cars from others (such as Porsche for example) will remain.

What will go? Either the SL or SLK probably won't survive, and arguably both could go if they were to expand the AMG GT down market with a six cylinder model. Either the E or S class coupe could also bow out. For BMW the upcoming 8 Series models may already have killed the two-door 6 Series. And BMW's two new yet-to-debut roadsters - the 'Z5' and i8 Spyder? If they don't catch on I could see both not being asked back for a second round.

Audi seems to be in the best spot in this area. TT, A/S/RS5, and R8 all seem like viable products. Maybe the A3/S3 convertible not so much, but the convertible is really the odd man out in that model lineup anyway.
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      03-15-2017, 09:06 PM   #3
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I think the competitiveness will increase 10 fold as more people jump to BEV vs ICE. It is clear with all the plugins BMW is offering they are on the fast track accordingly.
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      03-15-2017, 09:11 PM   #4
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Remove a badge here, install skinnier tires, drop a few horses. Chits all the same anyway. It's not really revolutionary as all brands are redundant. Consumers are so confused. You have M and AMG models with zero horsepower increases.
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      03-16-2017, 06:52 AM   #5
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Wouldn't be surprised if all the models which are actually fun/interesting to drive are the ones that get cut. They typically have the lowest sales numbers.
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      03-16-2017, 01:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ShocknAwe View Post
Wouldn't be surprised if all the models which are actually fun/interesting to drive are the ones that get cut. They typically have the lowest sales numbers.
Well, that would pretty much put BMW on par with Lexus and crush any identity drivers on this forum associate with the brand. Sounds like a death sentence...except Lexus is doing fine as a company. Hopefully they find their roots and stick to what made them great.
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      03-16-2017, 01:53 PM   #7
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Too many models with distinguishing between models (appearance and performance) is ok for me.

However, Merc give me headache. Without badge, ruler will tell me which is which.
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      03-16-2017, 02:07 PM   #8
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Cant wait for mercedes to realize that
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      03-16-2017, 02:08 PM   #9
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Get rid of the GTs. Get rid of the 4s. No more 6 sedans. Leave it as it once was. Make BMW great again.
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      03-16-2017, 02:17 PM   #10
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2020 (or whatever model year it will start):

"The iconic M3 name will now include coupe, saloon, and vert, continuing on bmw's tradition...."

lol
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      03-16-2017, 02:18 PM   #11
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axe the 4, kill the mx6, kill the m3, stick with whats golden.... to many choices just confuses people.. its nice to have choice but common sense has to come into factor at some time... the m2, keep the 3 but make one a convertible, keep, the 5 and 7 done for cars, make a x1 3 5 done... and start making thorium cars,, right now tata motors is the only company doing anything with this super efficient and CHEAP technology,
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      03-16-2017, 02:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by instalher View Post
axe the 4, kill the mx6, kill the m3, stick with whats golden.... to many choices just confuses people.. its nice to have choice but common sense has to come into factor at some time... the m2, keep the 3 but make one a convertible, keep, the 5 and 7 done for cars, make a x1 3 5 done... and start making thorium cars,, right now tata motors is the only company doing anything with this super efficient and CHEAP technology,
Did you just say kill the M3?

Members have been banned and beaten for less. I suggest you say you're sorry...
      03-16-2017, 02:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta0311 View Post
Get rid of the GTs. Get rid of the 4s. No more 6 sedans. Leave it as it once was. Make BMW great again.
You sound like Trump! lol.

But yes, agreed on the GT and 4s.
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      03-16-2017, 02:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmoua2u View Post
You sound like Trump! lol.

But yes, agreed on the GT and 4s.
I agree, GTs are horrible, and I wouldn't mind them seeing the axe.

I don't really think it makes sense to get rid of the 4 series. The amount of engineering work it would save versus going back to a 3er coupe seems minimal. I think having them split makes the lineup easier to understand (even numbers are coupes, odds are sedans).

That said, I wonder if the X4/X6 will be on the chopping block..
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      03-16-2017, 02:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by instalher View Post
kill the m3
Get out
      03-16-2017, 03:01 PM   #16
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Did you just say kill the M3?
I.... I think he did?

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      03-16-2017, 03:04 PM   #17
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This is amusing. Who are they kidding as they add Z5, X2, X7, i5, 8 series and all the future EVs that are coming? The only thing getting the ax is MAYBE 3,5 GT and a big fat NOTHING ELSE.

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      03-16-2017, 03:05 PM   #18
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It's right in the quote: "open sports cars". BMW is really looking at the Z lineup. They aren't big volume sellers (they haven't been for a long time), and aren't attracting enough buyers to commit engineering resources to the development of additional models. The Z5 may be the last hurrah.

As much as people want to complain about the GT's or the even-number X-series vehicles, they really don't cost BMW much in terms of development. They're all based on existing models and platforms, which are just modified with different style lines to fit another niche market.

The interesting question is what will happen to the i platform: I think BMW will keep it around, not because it's a big money maker, but because it's a test bed for future technologies that will be rolled out on future BMW models. It's probably easier and more cost effective to test something out on small scale sales, like the i's than it is to roll out a full line on the 3 or 5 series.
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      03-16-2017, 03:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta0311 View Post
Get rid of the GTs. Get rid of the 4s. No more 6 sedans. Leave it as it once was. Make BMW great again.
You do realize the 6er sedan sells way more than the coupe/convertible version? If anything, the latter versions will be getting the axe.
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      03-16-2017, 03:06 PM   #20
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The Gran Turismos are fat turds kill them already.
      03-16-2017, 03:07 PM   #21
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Kill the M3.

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      03-16-2017, 03:11 PM   #22
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Kill the GT'S! Please for the love of God!

Yeah I can see the convertibles and coupes being more a niche market with sales of those being more popular in those places where they can be used a lot more during the year, such as Southern California.

I personally love the Gran Coupes, especially the 4-Series Gran Coupe. It's an extremely stylish car with lots and lots of utility and practicality. It's got the sexiness of a coupe, the practicality of a 4 door sedan and great utility with its hatch back. I'd say it's even got more utility than a 3-Series because when you fold the rear seats down you have all this space like a Station Wagon , where as on the 3-Series you've got limited space because of the regular trunk.

But now Audi is also coming out with their answer to the 4-Series Gran Coupe, and they've got one model where the 440i Gran Coupe doesn't appeal to me enough, and that is the S5 Sportback. The new S5 Sportback will have more power and have sportier appointments than the 440i Gran Coupe. Such as on the S5 you get bespoke sport seats that are much better than the A5 Sportback. Where as on the 440i Gran Coupe, you only get the same front seats as on the 430i Gran Coupe. Now if BMW made a 6cyl turbo diesel like in the 535d combined with a manual transmission for the 4-Series Gran Coupe, then I'd buy that in a heart beat over the Audi. I would at least say that I would enjoy the 4-Series Gran Coupe way more if they offered it with a 6MT for the American market too.

I do think BMW should make the following changes to these models:

- Kill all GT models

- Offer the new G30 5-Series with a 6MT option

- Diesel engines and manual transmissions for the 4-Series for USA market!

- Why do we need an X1, X2, X3, X3M, X4, X4M40i, X5, X5M, X6, X6M, and X7?!?!?!!! Thinking about all these X-Models hurts my head!

- The new 8-Series will be great, but BMW is going about it all wrong, also by killing the 6-Series. The 8-Series should be ultimate Grand Touring car, with an N6tu based 850i Coupe and Gran Coupe, while the M8 and M8 Gran Coupe should use a derivative of the BMW 760i's Twin Turbo V12 making between 650-700hp and be AWD. BMW Should keep the 6-Series but make it a true sports car that is bigger than the 4-series but smaller than the 5 Series. The next M6 should have been a direct Porsche 911 competitor with a little bit of utility but totally focused on Performance and would use the same engine as the M5. The biggest problem I foresee with the new 8-Series is price. The fully loaded new M8 is probably going to exceed an MSRP of $170,000. That's Audi R8 money. And we all know that the M8 is not going to be lighter than an R8, so it could use more power. Then again, I always said that if BMW ever made an M8 it should be a direct supercar competitor to Audi's R8. Instead people say the i8 is BMW's answer to the Audi R8. Lol!

- BMW needs a Sedan or Gran Coupe with more leg room in the rear than the new G30. Or something that offers more rear leg room in the back between the G30 5-Series and G11 7-Series. BMW makes no such car right now. The rear leg/knee room in the new G30 5-Series isn't great, but stepping up to even buy a 740i is overkill in the rear legroom department. About another inch in the back of the G30 would be ideal.

- Maybe BMW should come up with another Series just for convertibles, just like they did for the Z Roadsters. Kill the 4-Series, 6 Series and possibly 8-Series convertibles. I never understood the concept of an M6 Convertible, it's too heavy be a performance car, and who track's and M6 vert anyways? I think BMW should make a new Series of convertibles that are along the lines of the McLaren 12C Spyder, Audi R8 Spyder, Ferrari 458 Spyder, and Lambo Huracan Spyder. Not necessarily a supercar BMW convertible, but definitely not a huge GT convertible car like the 6-Series Convertible is. BMW could essentially invent a new class of convertible vehicle with a car that has supercar looks, a drop top, and a little bit of utility. Or in other words, a built from the ground-up spyder/convertible car that is bigger and has more utility than the Z4/Z5, and is an anti-amalgamation of an existing Series BMW that is converted to have a drop top. The basis for this new Series convertible however is to not have 4 seats but only 2 seats. Call it the V-Series perhaps with a V6 or V7, or expand on the Z-Series with a Z6, Z7, or Z9.
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