August 16, 2011, 2:06 pm
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie
Bloat happens because manufactures want to keep customers as they get older. The larger 3er, Civic, __________, are exactly what the customer wants when they come in to replace their old one. Often manufacturers will then create a new "entry level" model to fill the slot. BMW isn't alone in this.
Quite a few of the "entry sized" models aren't sold in the US. BMW 1 series 3-door hatch, Mercedes A Klasse, and maybe the Mazda 2 are a few examples that come to mind.
Some are sold in the US. Honda Fit (Jazz) and Toyota Yaris are two.
More than a bit of truth there. Certainly reflects quite a bit of the discourse flying around at the time of the 128/135's release in the US (then disappointed in actuality by price increases due to a poor economy, & an overweight model), with talk of BMW seeking to bring in the "younger demographic" by revitalizing a successor to the 2002, etc. — leaving previous implied strategies to speak for themselves by contrast.
(From what I hear, though, we're quite lucky not to have to contend with the excoriated Mercedes A-series, which seems to have beaucoup de problèmes...)
We also see it in two contradictory indicators — both the lack of and availability of purely manual transmissions (I'm not counting automanuals), which in the background grace a mere 5+% of all cars sold in the US. BMW may be tracking & modifying aging demographics with its 3er & to an extent 5er series, but allowances are still made for new & classic hoonsters in the 1er offerings, and in the performance-oriented versions of the 3er & 5er — although the 550, of course, restricts this availability to the purely RWD platform.
And then, of course, there's ///M
...after the 1M capable of just about anything, and after the M5, with coming X-Drive, PCCB systems, & Manual transmission (for the US market, anyway), capable of producing an iconic vehicle attractive to the young as well as the old, even if it likely prices most folks out of its range. (Likely an $86-90K MSRP, once BMW adds its 15% profit margin to the base price.
Which reminds me: one large thing BMW needs to work on is color selection, at least as far as performance models go. To offer a car in two shades of red, but make them unavailable when an M-package is added to that car is totally inexcusable. (I'm citing the 335i coupe & sedan, which offers both crimson red and vermilion metallic until the M-package is checked off.) Additionally, to offer the M5 with only one hot color (Monte Carlo Blue) is a sure mistake (despite the definite hotness of its Sakhir Orange interior). M ought at least to offer its three logo colors when it sells a vehicle: Bavarian Blue, Red-Blue, and Texaco Red. Interlagos comes close to Red-Blue, and any red comes close to the Texaco color, but there's not been a Bavarian Blue offered in recent memory.