Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 7 Series / 8 Series

7 Series / 8 Series
The BMW 7 series and 8 Series Forum

 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-03-2003, 03:25 PM
beware_phog's Avatar
beware_phog beware_phog is offline
Jayhawk Fan
Location: Lawrence
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 919
Mein Auto: BMW 540
7 Series Redesign Info from WSJ

BMW Accelerates
To Fix Its '7 Series'

Purists Disliked Styling
And the iDrive Controls;
Sales Are Off 12% This Year

By NEAL E. BOUDETTE
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

FRANKFURT—Two years ago, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG did a radical redesign of its 7 Series sedan, and ended up making big waves among its fans. Now the German car maker is rushing to calm the waters.

BMW is working on a revamped version tentatively slated for launch in the second half of next year, about a year sooner than originally planned, people familiar with the matter said.

The touched-up 7 Series will still aim to present a striking look, but will modify some features that drew howls from purists, such as the front "face" of the car, its bulbous trunk and the dreaded iDrive interior control system, these people said. Peik von Bestenbostel, a BMW spokesman, said the company doesn't comment on cars that are still in development, but said BMW and other car makers typically refresh models every few years. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus brand, for example, has just updated its top model, the LS 430. It has been on the market a year longer than the 7 Series, however.

The early redesign is a sign BMW went too far with the 7 Series. The car, which starts at about €72,400 ($84,476) in Europe, was the first of several vehicles designed to give the company a bolder, ultramodern look and feel. BMW hoped this would satisfy customer desire for more "curbside presence" in its top-of-the-line model.

When the 7 Series arrived in showrooms in 2002, some fans revolted. A "Stop Chris Bangle" campaign aimed at BMW's American chief designer sprang up on the Internet. BMW has defended the car, pointing out that this version of the 7 Series has outsold its predecessor in the U.S. and Asia. But it has flopped in Europe, especially with more conservative German and Swiss customers.

This year, even sales in the U.S. have softened. In the first nine months of this year, BMW has sold only 14,410 7 Series, down almost 12% from the same period a year ago, according to market researcher Autodata Corp. In September, sales were down 23%. Worse, some U.S. dealers have had to resort to discounts to sell the car, a tactic more familiar to down-and-dirty Chevys and Chryslers than a luxury make like BMW.

One of the main reasons for the hasty facelift is iDrive, a mouse-like knob that drivers use to scroll through a maze of menus to do anything from change the radio settings to turn off the seat heaters. It was supposed to be a leap forward in interior control, but it is so complicated it drives many customers crazy.

"The car is just wonderful to drive. The handling is incredible," said Thomas Tucker, owner of a 2002 7 Series in Mountain Brook, Ala. "But this iDrive is insane. You have to take your eyes off the road or stop to see where you push the knob, turn the knob. I think it's dangerous, if you're driving."

Dealers selling competing models from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz have been trying to use iDrive to their advantage, too. Andreas Stege, who runs a Lexus dealership in Osnabruck, in northern Germany, tells prospective buyers to hop in and drive off in an LS 430 for a hour or so. "Anyone who's driven a 7 Series knows you can't just take the keys and go," he smirked. "You have to spend a hour reading the manual."

BMW also is taking out some of the curves in the 7 Series' headlights and grille to make them more conservative, said a person who has seen prototypes of the new version. The odd-looking trunk, which was the result of a last-minute change to ensure enough room for four golf bags, will be tweaked so it doesn't quite look like it was glued on as an afterthought, the person said.

Write to Neal E. Boudette at neal.boudette@wsj.com




Updated October 30, 2003
__________________
***
Current : 2014 435 M Sport (ED);
Previous: 2003 540 Touring; 2001 740 Sport; 2004 330 Convertible; 2003 X3 (ED); 1998 323 Convertible

BMW CCA: 162191

Advertisement
  #2  
Old 11-03-2003, 03:52 PM
Mr. The Edge's Avatar
Mr. The Edge Mr. The Edge is offline
.
Location: .
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 20,211
Mein Auto: .
__________________
Belief cannot argue with unbelief, it can only preach to it

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
  #3  
Old 11-03-2003, 07:02 PM
beware_phog's Avatar
beware_phog beware_phog is offline
Jayhawk Fan
Location: Lawrence
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 919
Mein Auto: BMW 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by atyclb
So no hope for a firesale? Oh well...
__________________
***
Current : 2014 435 M Sport (ED);
Previous: 2003 540 Touring; 2001 740 Sport; 2004 330 Convertible; 2003 X3 (ED); 1998 323 Convertible

BMW CCA: 162191

 

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 7 Series / 8 Series
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms