Will BMW Lose The US Luxury Car Sales Title?

by Bernie McGroarty on December 6, 2013, 11:39 am
”bmwvmb”

The race for the title of top-selling luxury car maker in the US has reached its final month. Mercedes-Benz is still holding on to the lead over BMW going into the final push.

Up until October, BMW luxury sales had been trailing Mercedes by less than 3,000 units. Through the end of October the lead grew to 5,000. Sales numbers for the month of November were released this week and it's not looking any better for BMW. Mercedes-Benz has stretched their lead to just over 7,600 units. This momentum in Mercedes' sales, has been helped by the release of the their new small sedan, the CLA. BMW had the release of the new X5 to help, but according to the Wall Street Journal, allocation issues were limiting the sales. 'BMW's U.S. arm has had to fight with other markets for allocations of a new X5 sport-utility vehicle, limiting its ability to drive sales in a key segment.'

It's not over until it's over though. There are still a few weeks left, and the end of the year is a big time for luxury car sales. Auto makers tend to amp up incentives to drive the sales of older models. Maybe this final push will boost BMW sales ahead of Mercedes. It's still anybody's game. However, even if BMW fails to pull ahead of Mercedes in the U.S., they are still on track to keep their No.1 spot as a luxury car maker globally.

Source: Wall Street Journal


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21 responses to Will BMW Lose The US Luxury Car Sales Title?

cvx5832 commented:
December 6, 2013, 5:25 pm

As the owner ok an 80k-mile, first-MY W204 since new, I have to say I'm not surprised. The MBs of late are solid. Nothing but oil and gas, ok maybe shock absorbers when it was still in warranty. Compared to my E46 and the E90 we used to own, the reliability is very different.

That said a BMW still drives like a BMW. If that ever wore off, I'd be off to another brand lickety-split.
2001740ilsport commented:
December 6, 2013, 7:19 pm

don't matter...BMW is a much better car overall.bottom line.
aiwapro commented:
December 8, 2013, 10:16 pm

Stop making the vehicles drive like a Japanese vehicle, and you'll get back on top. Everyone says the new vehicles are too soft on the steering, with the electrically controlled, versus Hydraulic. My '04 545i was perfect with it's Active Steering: Soft in a parking lot, and harder on the highway at 80mph.
AzNMpower32 commented:
December 8, 2013, 10:42 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by aiwapro View Post
Stop making the vehicles drive like a Japanese vehicle, and you'll get back on top. Everyone says the new vehicles are too soft on the steering, with the electrically controlled, versus Hydraulic. My '04 545i was perfect with it's Active Steering: Soft in a parking lot, and harder on the highway at 80mph.
I really like the Active Steering in my mom's 325i (same setup). But I don't think the overall softness is the problem; this is ultimately what most consumers want. The heavy, arm-over-arm steering isn't what American consumers want.

I think the new pricing structure isn't really great- the whole "lines" rubbish may work for European consumers but Americans don't care about customisation. They don't study option sheets, specs, or details like that. They tend to purchase luxury cars like white goods/appliances; trying to explain why they cant get option X or Y in the Modern Line is just way too confusing.
Pat_X5 commented:
December 8, 2013, 10:52 pm

The loss of hydraulic steering is thanks to the Federal govt mandating better gas mileage.

Just like the steering going electric, soon our A/C will stop running off the engine belt and go electric too..

Thanks to CAFE for these changes. If the government stopped messing with our cars, we would still have hydraulic....

That's why I got the very last of the hydraulic steering (HPS) X5 last month - could not bear to drive an EPS BMW - tried them all and they all fail.

BTW have you ever imagined what would happen if the first EPS car loses it "digital steering position controller" and the steering rack fails to steer due to a malfunction?
Does the Toyota run away throttle come to mind ?
Does the vision of driver seeing absolute terror just before dying?
Will there be a first EPS steering losing control plowing thru at 70MPH your car and family be a good excuse for the new technology ?


At least my hydraulic if it fails, reverts to manual steering - tough to drive, but still able to avoid a collision!

And then those who make excuses for EPS - if you are new to the brand, never driven a BMW, just want the badge in their driveway or just weak armed folks then EPS is your ticket....
WaxComb commented:
December 9, 2013, 8:59 pm

I'm not sure where people get this impression about electric power steering (EPS), but if EPS fails you still have steering it's just not assisted.

Now Infiniti's thing on the other hand...
joechristmas commented:
December 10, 2013, 3:18 am

Who cares? BMW should stick to building cars that are fun to drive, innovative, and then luxurious.
Metrics and trophies don't mean a thing to me.
2001740ilsport commented:
December 10, 2013, 3:20 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by joechristmas View Post
Who cares? BMW should stick to building cars that are fun to drive, innovative, and then luxurious.
Metrics and trophies don't mean a thing to me.
thats a great answer.
adgrant commented:
December 10, 2013, 7:18 am

If only BMW had stuck to building cars that were fun to drive. They seem to have forgotten how to.
Dave 20T commented:
December 10, 2013, 4:59 pm

Winning a sales title is purely a kind of corporate goal. It doesn't matter to me whether I drive a popular car or not so popular car. In fact, some people want to drive a less common car, such as a Maserati or Jaguar. The problem with too low sales is that there are fewer aftermarket parts and less revenue to improve the design.
Elias commented:
December 10, 2013, 5:59 pm

Thats right keep chasing that all mighty sales crown and see the price BMW will pay, it won't be pretty, trust me. Just ask GM and toyota.
Pat_X5 commented:
December 10, 2013, 6:05 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elias View Post
Thats right keep chasing that all mighty sales crown and see the price BMW will pay, it won't be pretty, trust me. Just ask GM and toyota.
Will it result in more recalls or product failures ???
Fastpaddler commented:
December 10, 2013, 6:31 pm

I have owned 4 MBs. Many problems.I am on my second BMW now.First, a 325i was trouble-free for 4 1/2 yrs then traded for current 528i. This one has some quirks,mostly software glitches but very good otherwise. Remember, that MB cars do not, the last time I checked, have a 4 year 50K miles free service warrantee. You pay for everything. i found Mercedes more pro-active with service needs and BMW hit and miss. If I dont phone BMW I would simply not get my annual free maintenace service. CAFE is driving all makers to build similar cars, with 4 cylinders,ASS,Electric steering, and so on. We dont drive these cars as they drive us instead. There is one factor to remember with BMW sales in the USA:some 40 percent of the world production of BMW 3 series/3 series are sold in the USA. If the 3 series loses it's historical lead as the ultimate driving machine in that category, who knows what will happen to their sales vis a vis MB. The advent of the A-based MBs now the FRONT WHEEL drive models coming out and cheap too, could tip the scales a lot in favour of MB.
Just my thoughts on that.
AL
f30jojo commented:
December 11, 2013, 10:50 am

A few points.

Fisrt and foremost "Luxury" is a term used very freely in the states these days. In my opinion the only luxury cars BMW builds are the 6GC and the 7er. I was recently in a German doctor office and i read over a magazine that had the classifications of vehicles sold in Germany. A very interesting read. Long story short the 7er and 6GC are the only Luxury class vehicle BMW builds. the 5 and the 3 are almost in the smae class "obermittelklasse and kompaktmittle sportlichen" (upper middle class and compact/middle sport) respectively. Many people have called me crazy for not considering a 5er a luxury car, and a F30 ever farther from it. Many confuse luxury with connectivity. Just b/c a car has a backup camera, leather and iphone connectivity DOES NOT MAKE IT A LUXURY CAR. In that regard a F30/10 do not meet the criteria for a luxury classification. IMO that's a "modern" class, the same as most brands are releasing these days. A Taurus or a Mailibu come very nicely equipped and fully loaded they rival MB and BMW's level of technology. yet these vehicles are not in the same class.

Second, for the love of God... people... can we stop it with the EPS complaints. Is the steering lighter? yes but does that make it worse? no. Since when does stiff sterring equal sporty steering? I dont want to get on a soap box about EPS, i'll just say this. Those of you that ACTUALLY own a F30/F10 realize it's not as bad as so called "owners" on a website claim it to be. You get use to it very quickly and it certainly has it's advantages. Besides no one makes you buy one of these cars, if you dont buy it soley for the EPS, you really need to get over yourself.

Thrid, BMW's main market is middle business class soccer moms/dads with a little extra money to spend on a nice car. BMW does not cater to enthusiasts, sorry. Enthisiasts are such a small percent of the market. BMW builds very well engineered cars and sometimes overly engineered cars e.g. 1M, M3, M6 and so on. BMW is selling what the market wants, not what enthusiasts want. If that was the case BMW would be out of business.
adgrant commented:
December 11, 2013, 5:19 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by f30jojo View Post
A few points.

Fisrt and foremost "Luxury" is a term used very freely in the states these days. In my opinion the only luxury cars BMW builds are the 6GC and the 7er. I was recently in a German doctor office and i read over a magazine that had the classifications of vehicles sold in Germany. A very interesting read. Long story short the 7er and 6GC are the only Luxury class vehicle BMW builds. the 5 and the 3 are almost in the smae class "obermittelklasse and kompaktmittle sportlichen" (upper middle class and compact/middle sport) respectively. Many people have called me crazy for not considering a 5er a luxury car, and a F30 ever farther from it. Many confuse luxury with connectivity. Just b/c a car has a backup camera, leather and iphone connectivity DOES NOT MAKE IT A LUXURY CAR. In that regard a F30/10 do not meet the criteria for a luxury classification. IMO that's a "modern" class, the same as most brands are releasing these days. A Taurus or a Mailibu come very nicely equipped and fully loaded they rival MB and BMW's level of technology. yet these vehicles are not in the same class.

Second, for the love of God... people... can we stop it with the EPS complaints. Is the steering lighter? yes but does that make it worse? no. Since when does stiff sterring equal sporty steering? I dont want to get on a soap box about EPS, i'll just say this. Those of you that ACTUALLY own a F30/F10 realize it's not as bad as so called "owners" on a website claim it to be. You get use to it very quickly and it certainly has it's advantages. Besides no one makes you buy one of these cars, if you dont buy it soley for the EPS, you really need to get over yourself.

Thrid, BMW's main market is middle business class soccer moms/dads with a little extra money to spend on a nice car. BMW does not cater to enthusiasts, sorry. Enthisiasts are such a small percent of the market. BMW builds very well engineered cars and sometimes overly engineered cars e.g. 1M, M3, M6 and so on. BMW is selling what the market wants, not what enthusiasts want. If that was the case BMW would be out of business.
I see you have an F30 from your login in name, I guess you must like EPS. I do not and I have test driven several BMWs with it. If I don't buy the new F15 X5 it will be solely because of the EPS. Steering in my E70 is so much better.


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adgrant commented:
December 11, 2013, 5:22 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by f30jojo View Post
A few points.

Fisrt and foremost "Luxury" is a term used very freely in the states these days. In my opinion the only luxury cars BMW builds are the 6GC and the 7er. I was recently in a German doctor office and i read over a magazine that had the classifications of vehicles sold in Germany. A very interesting read. Long story short the 7er and 6GC are the only Luxury class vehicle BMW builds. the 5 and the 3 are almost in the smae class "obermittelklasse and kompaktmittle sportlichen" (upper middle class and compact/middle sport) respectively. Many people have called me crazy for not considering a 5er a luxury car, and a F30 ever farther from it. Many confuse luxury with connectivity. Just b/c a car has a backup camera, leather and iphone connectivity DOES NOT MAKE IT A LUXURY CAR. In that regard a F30/10 do not meet the criteria for a luxury classification. IMO that's a "modern" class, the same as most brands are releasing these days. A Taurus or a Mailibu come very nicely equipped and fully loaded they rival MB and BMW's level of technology. yet these vehicles are not in the same class.
What does make a luxury car? The 6GC, 6 and 5 are practically the same car and the X5 is pretty similar. The 5 GT is really a 7 hatchback.


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WaxComb commented:
December 11, 2013, 7:21 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by adgrant View Post
I see you have an F30 from your login in name, I guess you must like EPS. I do not and I have test driven several BMWs with it. If I don't buy the new F15 X5 it will be solely because of the EPS. Steering in my E70 is so much better.


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I have an E92, and regarding these EPS issues I can honestly say the current versions of EPS (MY2013 and newer) have as good a feel as hydraulic power steering.

I had 2 F10 loaners this year when my car was in for water pump issues and a PPK install, and the weekend before thanksgiving I had a F11 rental in Germany and I thought the steering on all F1x cars were fantastic: it was good road feel and felt secure at speed (130 MPH/210 KPH was the fastest I went).

Honestly, I kinda missed the F11 steering when I got back because my E92 felt too stiff.
adgrant commented:
December 12, 2013, 8:08 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaxComb View Post
I have an E92, and regarding these EPS issues I can honestly say the current versions of EPS (MY2013 and newer) have as good a feel as hydraulic power steering.

I had 2 F10 loaners this year when my car was in for water pump issues and a PPK install, and the weekend before thanksgiving I had a F11 rental in Germany and I thought the steering on all F1x cars were fantastic: it was good road feel and felt secure at speed (130 MPH/210 KPH was the fastest I went).

Honestly, I kinda missed the F11 steering when I got back because my E92 felt too stiff.
I don't share your opinion. I have been driving various BMWs for the last 20 years and the EPS models steering feels different. Much more different than my switch from an E88 to an E70 with active steering. The E88 is built in the E90 platform so the steering should be similar to your E92. Admittedly, the active steering in the E70 is overboosted at low speed so I don't get to feel the downsides of BMW steering feel.

The argue,net about EPS reminds me of the argument about sensatec VS leather seating. Lots of people swear they can't tell the difference and they look superficially similar. The sensatec feels artificial to me though and I would never buy a car with it.



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Pat_X5 commented:
December 12, 2013, 8:43 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by adgrant View Post
I see you have an F30 from your login in name, I guess you must like EPS. I do not and I have test driven several BMWs with it. If I don't buy the new F15 X5 it will be solely because of the EPS. Steering in my E70 is so much better.


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Exactly the same reason was my decision to go for the E70 last month with a new 2013 last of the hydraulic X5.

Just could not get used to the disconnected, muted, numb, over boosted steering of the F15.

Suspension was a bit softer on the F15 but still rigid and had a good feedback.

Because of the steering, I chose the HPS E70 diesel over the EPS F15 gasser....

I just hope that by the time I turn in the E70 in a couple of years, BMW will have perfected the EPS feel and ride to appease those of us who like to drive instead of being driven....
hellosopo commented:
December 14, 2013, 9:00 am

I'm not sure why this turned into a rant about EPS. Everybody is going EPS. BMW doesn't really have a choice. I assume they're trying to figure out how to make it feel as good as the hydraulic kind was. (Hopefully it will not take as long as it took for the automatic transmission to evolve into the ZF 8-Speed...)
adgrant commented:
December 16, 2013, 7:47 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosopo View Post
I'm not sure why this turned into a rant about EPS. Everybody is going EPS. BMW doesn't really have a choice. I assume they're trying to figure out how to make it feel as good as the hydraulic kind was. (Hopefully it will not take as long as it took for the automatic transmission to evolve into the ZF 8-Speed...)
Because someone posted something along the lines of "as long as they keep building cars that are fun to drive". Some of us thing that ship has already sailed.


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