PDA

View Full Version : U.S. sales of quirky 5-series GT disappoint BMW


dthompson
05-23-2011, 09:13 AM
Article from Autonews (http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110523/RETAIL07/305239978/1422)
"BMW's 5-series Gran Turismo was meant to be a stylish alternative to minivans and crossovers when it debuted in November 2009. But sales of the tall, quirky five-door have been disappointing. Now, BMW of North America CEO Jim O'Donnell says he wishes the company hadn't stopped selling the 5-series wagon in the United States last year. BMW had expected the 5-series GT to attract those wagon buyers, but the GT is luring owners of the more-expensive 7-series sedan instead."

mujjuman
05-23-2011, 09:38 AM
That thing drives great, but is ugly

11gt535
05-23-2011, 09:57 AM
Around Munich GT's were common and the further we got away the fewer we saw until our GT became a curiosity somewhere around the German border.

I've had it here in the US for about a week and I've gotten compliments and lots of questions of "what is that?"... first day I had the car someone stopped me walking away from it and told me the car was beautiful and asked if it was a new model.

In the US, few people know the GT exists. Dealers don't keep them on the lot, and don't have the brochure to give out. The GT's I test drove sold within short order (one the same day). And if you don't market it, the only people that will be aware of it are people who are already likely to buy a BMW... being a new category of car it was going to cannibalize the other models. It's definitely not a direct substitute for a wagon so the idea that wagon buyers would just buy a GT was always a stretch. So with little marketing and dealer support, I think they get what they are set it up to get.

innerloop
05-23-2011, 10:51 AM
What's odd is that they say in the article that the sales of the F07 (2850) were higher than the BEST year for the previous wagon (2350). That's sort of an odd failure. I guess if you're expecting 8k, then yeah, that's a disappointment.

Honestly it didn't seem well marketed (I had no idea it existing before stepping on the dealer's lot looking at X3/X5 options) and the 2010 model year was a tough one for the overall economy, so it seems like doing 15% better than the BEST wagon year is not a total failure. Speaking for myself, they may have cannibalized a sale from an X-series vehicle or maybe a standard F10 5-series, but no way was I considering a 7-series. So far it doesn't seem like many on this board came to the GT by way of looking for a bargain 7, so I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion...

Thad
05-23-2011, 01:30 PM
What's odd is that they say in the article that the sales of the F07 (2850) were higher than the BEST year for the previous wagon (2350). That's sort of an odd failure. I guess if you're expecting 8k, then yeah, that's a disappointment.

Honestly it didn't seem well marketed (I had no idea it existing before stepping on the dealer's lot looking at X3/X5 options) and the 2010 model year was a tough one for the overall economy, so it seems like doing 15% better than the BEST wagon year is not a total failure. Speaking for myself, they may have cannibalized a sale from an X-series vehicle or maybe a standard F10 5-series, but no way was I considering a 7-series. So far it doesn't seem like many on this board came to the GT by way of looking for a bargain 7, so I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion...

I'd agree with this. I was looking at X3/X5 and stumbled upon the GT when I was looking to try to do an ED and realized that all X's are now made in the US and not available for ED.

In no way did I consider a 7 series.

ttgxc
05-23-2011, 01:38 PM
I could have predicted this, along with most everyone else that this was a mistake on BMW's part. I am now waiting for Volvo to come back and say they regret not importing wagon's too in favor of their XC90 and Cross Country.

dunderhi
05-23-2011, 04:03 PM
What's odd is that they say in the article that the sales of the F07 (2850) were higher than the BEST year for the previous wagon (2350). That's sort of an odd failure. I guess if you're expecting 8k, then yeah, that's a disappointment.


The F11 wasn't brought to NA because it was a sales failure. BMW sales are now 10% higher than in 2005, so the peak sales number isn't that different to call one a success and the other a failure. In addition if the F07 is stealing sales from the F01 and the F10, then the overall sales impact is much worse. Maybe additional marketing could help the situation.

Capobranco
05-23-2011, 10:08 PM
The 5 GT is sui generis

The 5 GT is not an easy sale in NA ***8211; Americans neither understand nor appreciate it. I find its blend of performance, utility, luxury, and yes, styling, to be compelling, but, professionally as well as culturally, I have always had one foot in Europe and one foot in America - the 5 GT is not an alien concept to me. When I owned an E39 Touring ***8211; I rarely saw other tourings. Given BMW***8217;s stated commitment to the GT concept in NA, BMW***8217;s lack of aggressive advertising and public relations on behalf of the GT is especially surprising.

car-fan
05-23-2011, 11:07 PM
Article from Autonews (http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110523/RETAIL07/305239978/1422)
"BMW's 5-series Gran Turismo was meant to be a stylish alternative to minivans and crossovers when it debuted in November 2009. But sales of the tall, quirky five-door have been disappointing. Now, BMW of North America CEO Jim O'Donnell says he wishes the company hadn't stopped selling the 5-series wagon in the United States last year. BMW had expected the 5-series GT to attract those wagon buyers, but the GT is luring owners of the more-expensive 7-series sedan instead."

Although sales in the U.S. may lag behind other markets, it still appears that the GT is meeting its mark internationally. To be honest I am not aware of "any" wagons on sale here that sell in high volume - save for maybe the Subarus in the NorthEast. I would say Volvo arguably had the highest market share of European wagons in the U.S. This is a "guestimate" on my part as I have no official numbers to back this. Audi Avants, MBZ Estates, and BMW Tourings were always niche vehicles - remember when the E34 Tourings first arrived?

I always felt that the GT might capture a few F01/F02 sales because it is essentially a 5 door 7 Series. Although, I knew the GT was a 7, I didn't cross shop or consider the 7. I have absolutely no objections against the 7, just wanted a bit more flexibility.

IMHO the only cars outside of the dealership that BMW aggressively markets is the 3 series. Even Audi has a more aggressive marketing scheme than BMW.

Even if Jim O'Donnell (allegedly) is second guessing BMW's decision to stop selling the Touring in the U.S., I still remain steadfast and happy with my decision to purchase the GT;)

S93D
05-24-2011, 02:05 PM
Too bad it is not selling well. The reason I don't want that is because it is too much like a SUV. I would consider a 5 series wagon or a 5 series hatchback, but not a huge dinosaur like the GT.

Capobranco
05-24-2011, 02:24 PM
Posted on the F/10 Forum - seems apropos to repost here-

I previously posted that the GT is a bulls-eye as to my needs and desires; dynamically my 550i GT embodies some of the the spirit of my 911 Turbo, the utility of my E39 Touring, and the luxury of a Seven Series. I do not want to drive a SUV. I have always loved wagons and I drove my E39 Touring for over 100,000 miles. I rarely encountered another in the wild. Station wagons have always been a hard sell for BMW in NA people say they want them like they want 6 speeds but very few actually pull the trigger. My E39 was the perfect Q ship - I could drive very fast - cloaked in anonymity.

The last E61 Touring was close to perfection sleek, all wheel drive turbo 6 with 300 HP and BMW sold less than 1000 units. Today how many Cadillac CTS-Vs have you seen Ive never seen one and I look for them. Most people think of station wagons as utilitarian devices not luxury performance vehicles. BMWs numbers and track record confirms the market for luxury station wagons is small. Tourings always cost more to purchase and are worth less at trade-in. You have to love Tourings to buy in to this scenario. Moreover, having experienced the luxury of the GT - I do not want to go back to a touring.

Given the historical resistance to all things touring and 5 door in the US, I find BMWs marketing efforts, or more accurately, lack of marketing, to be breathtaking. The concept of the GT at best is a niche play given proper vigorous corporate support. The lack of marketing has been compounded by misinformation at the dealer level is the GT a SUV, a SAV, a PAV, a station wagon, a budget 7 series, a big 5 series? Truth is the GT is sui generis, hence the critical need for a strategy that effectively communicates its unique attributes.

BMWNA had the opportunity with the GT to create a new niche market perhaps that moment has past.
__________________

car-fan
05-24-2011, 08:36 PM
Posted on the F/10 Forum - seems apropos to repost here-

I previously posted that the GT is a bull***8217;s-eye as to my needs and desires; dynamically ***8211; my 550i GT embodies some of the the spirit of my 911 Turbo, the utility of my E39 Touring, and the luxury of a Seven Series. I do not want to drive a SUV. I have always loved wagons and I drove my E39 Touring for over 100,000 miles. I rarely encountered another in the wild. Station wagons have always been a hard sell for BMW in NA ***8211; people say they want them ***8211; like they want 6 speeds ***8211; but very few actually pull the trigger. My E39 was the perfect Q ship - I could drive very fast - cloaked in anonymity.

The last E61 Touring was close to perfection ***8211; sleek, all wheel drive ***8211; turbo 6 with 300 HP and BMW sold less than 1000 units. Today ***8211; how many Cadillac CTS-Vs have you seen ***8211; I***8217;ve never seen one ***8211; and I look for them. Most people think of station wagons as utilitarian devices ***8211; not luxury performance vehicles. BMW***8217;s numbers and track record confirms the market for luxury station wagons is small. Tourings always cost more to purchase and are worth less at trade-in. You have to love Tourings to buy in to this scenario. Moreover, having experienced the luxury of the GT - I do not want to go back to a touring.

Given the historical resistance to all things touring and 5 door in the US, I find BMW***8217;s marketing efforts, or more accurately, lack of marketing, to be breathtaking. The concept of the GT at best is a niche play given proper vigorous corporate support. The lack of marketing has been compounded by misinformation at the dealer level ***8211; is the GT a SUV, a SAV, a PAV, a station wagon, a budget 7 series, a big 5 series? Truth is the GT is sui generis, hence the critical need for a strategy that effectively communicates its unique attributes.

BMWNA had the opportunity with the GT to create a new niche market ***8211; perhaps that moment has past.
__________________


Excellent post! Although, I don't think the moment has passed, as other Euro manufacturers are slated to come on line with their luxury 5 door variants, more interest in these types of vehicles will be spawned. There was a time when the notion of an "econo-hatch" surviving in this market was far fetched. Now It seems the only hatches that have gone the way of the dinosaur are the American versions. Americans don't even like their own wagons as wagons i.e. the Dodge Magnum. I happen to like the looks of the CTS-V Wagon, I hope it survives. It appears to be almost sacrilegious to call a station wagon a station wagon - an acronym must be attached: SAV, SUV, etc or just apply the CrossOver label.:rolleyes: Whatever, at the end of the day of course the GT is not a true station wagon, nor is it a Cross Over. Its a Luxury 5 door sedan.

I guess no one told Ferrari about how unpopular luxury/performance hatches are in the U.S.:eeps:

ProRail
05-24-2011, 09:34 PM
So they saw it as "an alternative to minivans and crossovers" so they "stopped selling wagons" in the US. Where is the logic in that?

Capobranco
05-24-2011, 09:51 PM
I have one question - is the person/team responsible for the marketing of the GT in NA still employed by BMWNA? Hmmm... if the answer is yes...which I suspect...then this indicates a more significant problem. BMWNA surely must understand that the concept of the GT to be viable in NA requires special effort...which is conspicuously absent if it ever existed. This is extraordinary, given BMWs stated goal to grow the GT concept. Moreover, note that ODonnell in the interview did not address what BMWNA might have done differently, nor did he indicate a strategy going forward. He was more concerned about protecting sales of the F/01 and musing about the future of station wagons that have never worked. I suggest this interview was a classic tactical preemptive strike to deflect the shortcomings and lack of results of BMWNA. You know there is a serious corporate problem when dealers are confused as of this date - how to define the GT concept - what the GT is - what the GT is not - and who are prospective customers. The interview highlights not so much the shortcomings of the 5GT as the strategic and tactical incompetence of BMWNA.

mason
05-24-2011, 10:54 PM
Well, I like the roominess of the car and I even like the style of the car. But I found the car too heavy - V8 version stands over 4900 lbs. Trunk is smaller than expected, sometimes I found my E60 trunk organize a little better. Ride can seem a bit floaty. Steering wheel feels artificial.

I would much prefer the current 5er wagon - 535dt. I was at the focus group study for BMW. I told them that much improvement is needed. I can do away the dual trunk opening. i want less weight and a diesel. I love to hear the reason why current touring is impossible. Financially, it works already - less deflections, sales be no worse than GT and no owners comes down from 7. Why not?

innerloop
05-25-2011, 08:48 AM
According to data posted on this thread, sales of the Wagon WERE worse than the sales so far for the GT. If that data was accurate, the sales (for the 5-wagon) had falled to the point of not even justifying the costs of federalizing the new model. 500 units worth of profit margin won't even pay to ship the damn brochures over here...

car-fan
05-25-2011, 10:26 AM
I have one question - is the person/team responsible for the marketing of the GT in NA still employed by BMWNA? Hmmm... if the answer is yes...which I suspect...then this indicates a more significant problem. BMWNA surely must understand that the concept of the GT to be viable in NA requires special effort...which is conspicuously absent if it ever existed. This is extraordinary, given BMWs stated goal to grow the GT concept. Moreover, note that ODonnell in the interview did not address what BMWNA might have done differently, nor did he indicate a strategy going forward. He was more concerned about protecting sales of the F/01 and musing about the future of station wagons that have never worked. I suggest this interview was a classic tactical preemptive strike to deflect the shortcomings and lack of results of BMWNA. You know there is a serious corporate problem when dealers are confused as of this date - how to define the GT concept - what the GT is - what the GT is not - and who are prospective customers. The interview highlights not so much the shortcomings of the 5GT as the strategic and tactical incompetence of BMWNA.

+ 720 (the 720 Units delivered this year) ;)

You are right on target - I concur 100%

mason
05-25-2011, 11:40 AM
According to data posted on this thread, sales of the Wagon WERE worse than the sales so far for the GT. If that data was accurate, the sales (for the 5-wagon) had falled to the point of not even justifying the costs of federalizing the new model. 500 units worth of profit margin won't even pay to ship the damn brochures over here...

That number is the last couple of years, which is the end of the last 5er generation. Every brand sees sales drop at the tail end of models' cycle.

dogguyX3
05-25-2011, 06:42 PM
Neglecting a new share of customer, as evidenced in BMWNA failure to establish any GT Marketing outreach, and the ill-advised folly of deriding the market share of its own customer base that is invested in the GT, demonstrates in deeds, the shortsighted pandering to a culture of yesterday, in a world that is already tardy to embrace our tomorrows. Any modern Marketing scheme must leapfrog its tomorrows making sure all steps of the immediate future lead promisingly toward the as-yet unrealized realities, or the competition, and the marketplace will extinguish the brand as obsolete at worst, and a market follower at best.

The Irony of claiming to be the ultimate driving machine
suffers in the glaring inspection by a knowledgeable and skeptical public, whose appetite for
innovation, creativity, and daring excellence is incongruent with a stodgy lock-step adherence to
sedan-only-minded branding. When R&D, market research, trends analysis, and economic realities all call for diversification, the gamesmanship of a good-ol'-boy mentality invites Audi, even Hyundai, to not only nip at BMW's heels, but with eyes further ahead, perhaps will disregard BMW altogether as no longer relevant.

Failure to recognize this threat, is perhaps the most grievous error of all.

Capobranco
05-25-2011, 07:55 PM
Neglecting a new share of customer, as evidenced in BMWNA failure to establish any GT Marketing outreach, and the ill-advised folly of deriding the market share of its own customer base that is invested in the GT, demonstrates in deeds, the shortsighted pandering to a culture of yesterday, in a world that is already tardy to embrace our tomorrows. Any modern Marketing scheme must leapfrog it's tomorrows making sure all steps of the immediate future lead promisingly toward the as-yet unrealized realities, or the competition, and the marketplace will extinguish the brand as obsolete at worst, and a market follower at best.

The Irony of claiming to be the ultimate driving machine
suffers in the glaring inspection by a knowledgeable and skeptical public, whose appetite for
innovation, creativity, and daring excellence is incongruent with a stodgy lock-step adherence to
sedan-only-minded branding. When R&D, market research, trends analysis, and economic realities all call for diversification, the gamesmanship of a good-ol'-boy mentality invites Audi, even Hyundai, to not only nip at BMW's heels, but with eyes further ahead, perhaps will disregard BMW altogether as no longer relevant.

Failure to recognize this threat, is perhaps the most grievous error of all.

We saw a very mismanaged initial roll out of the GT with no follow up. I have not seen ads in any media - print, web, or broadcast - on behalf of the GT. Perhaps I am just unaware of the very savvy public relations campaign BMWNA has undertaken. Indeed, if there is a campaign, it is on the level of the subliminal.

Marketing requires- talent, knowledge, money, leadership and a commitment to succeed. It is evident that BMWNA lacks the commitment, but I also question if BMWNA has the proper leadership to engage in innovative marketing/public relations strategies that benefit the GT concept.

History is Prologue to the Future

kashrahman
05-26-2011, 04:53 PM
Article from Autonews (http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110523/RETAIL07/305239978/1422)
"BMW's 5-series Gran Turismo was meant to be a stylish alternative to minivans and crossovers when it debuted in November 2009. But sales of the tall, quirky five-door have been disappointing. Now, BMW of North America CEO Jim O'Donnell says he wishes the company hadn't stopped selling the 5-series wagon in the United States last year. BMW had expected the 5-series GT to attract those wagon buyers, but the GT is luring owners of the more-expensive 7-series sedan instead."

I agree with everyone's comments. I had seen the GT at an auto show over a year ago, but had honestly forgotten about it. When we were look to replace the wife's car (750LI) we were looking for something a touch smaller with better gas mileage (currently using $150/week), so 528 sedan was our first thought. Our CA mentioned the GT and had one in stock, luckily in black. (helps to see the car in the color you're going to get). Wife was sold on the rear seat space and similar gas mileage. I'm not expecting my fuel bill to be cut in half, but even 10% less would feel nice.

Personally, I still think that rear is weird looking, BUT the rest of the car fits our needs perfectly -- large trunk space, great rear seat room, decent gas mileage, it's a BMW, etc, etc. We shopped around quite a bit (haven't done this much cross shopping since we first got into BMW!) and test drove Lincoln, Lexus, X5 diesel, 528 sedan, 535xi sedan and had looked at many cars at auto shows, etc. I'm sure we will fall in love as we have with all our BMWs!

myride
05-27-2011, 03:53 PM
I have owned 3 series,x5,6 series convertible and 7 series-my 550iGT is the best of all...great interior and surprise, i actually like the distinctive exterior.The biggest problem is with BMW marketing-the car is more 7 series than 5 series- should not have been listed as 5 series and they should have done a better job of describing this very special luxury car...

car-fan
05-27-2011, 06:13 PM
I have owned 3 series,x5,6 series convertible and 7 series-my 550iGT is the best of all...great interior and surprise, i actually like the distinctive exterior.The biggest problem is with BMW marketing-the car is more 7 series than 5 series- should not have been listed as 5 series and they should have done a better job of describing this very special luxury car...

+1 I concur 100%

stickbuilder
05-29-2011, 10:28 AM
Way back when we bought our 3 series Touring, we were forced to make the drive to a dealership who had one in their inventory. Our local BMW dealer did not have one, and did not expect to receive one. Might the problem with the lack of sales of the Touring lie with the lack of examples for the customer to choose from? The dealership in Orlando had several, and we chose ours. Still have it in fact. Would I consider another? You bet.

mason
06-02-2011, 07:56 AM
I have owned 3 series,x5,6 series convertible and 7 series-my 550iGT is the best of all...great interior and surprise, i actually like the distinctive exterior.The biggest problem is with BMW marketing-the car is more 7 series than 5 series- should not have been listed as 5 series and they should have done a better job of describing this very special luxury car...

That's the trend BMW seeing.......owners have gone up to 6er and 7er until 5 GT come along. They 'dropped' back to 5. That's what it wants to stop.

I really like to know what is impossible for this generation 5 touring. Engines are same. BMW can't come up a marketing plan in a few months? It's Madison Ave's work anyway. Impossible in 2011, yes; what about second half of 2012 or even Jan 2013??

innerloop
06-02-2011, 08:02 AM
I really like to know what is impossible for this generation 5 touring. Engines are same. BMW can't come up a marketing plan in a few months? It's Madison Ave's work anyway. Impossible in 2011, yes; what about second half of 2012 or even Jan 2013??

I believe the reason is there are significant costs involved in getting a new model approved for the US market (crash tested, etc.), and given the sales of the 5 Touring in past years, they didn't feel it was a good investment, and even less-so when the model's run is partly over (so the costs of bringing it through US approval would have to amortized over fewer years).

mason
06-02-2011, 08:04 AM
I believe the reason is there are significant costs involved in getting a new model approved for the US market (crash tested, etc.), and given the sales of the 5 Touring in past years, they didn't feel it was a good investment, and even less-so when the model's run is partly over (so the costs of bringing it through US approval would have to amortized over fewer years).

That's reasonable.

mason
06-02-2011, 02:44 PM
On a second thought, I might not agree. Didn't the 1er come in the mid-cycle? Did BMW do all the tests and decide to bring the car over for 2+ years?