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Old 14th November 2014, 13:42   #1
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Default Sports car fad fading away says BMW sales chief

Sports car posters may be in high demand, but it seems the same can't be said about the actual cars themselves. Ian Robertson, head of BMW sales, says the sports car market has halved from what it was before 2008. Post the recession, buyers in the North American and European markets have gained a new found penchant for SUVs and mid-size crossovers.

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China too has emerged as a market with high demand for large wheelbase luxury barges, while the same cannot be said for performance two doors. The weather and pollution conditions have made roadsters and convertibles less desirable when it comes to final purchase decisions in the world's largest car market. Worldwide sales of the Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z4 combined reached 114,000 units back in 2007. The economic downturn led to a 45% drop in sales come 2010. The segment has seen a gradual increase in demand since, but Robertson is skeptical about it ever recovering completely.

However, while the sports car sales charts may not be reflecting the ideal statistics for car manufacturers like BMW, such models add to the brand's value. This is among the reasons why BMW has joined hands with Toyota for the creation of a new mid-size sports car that is currently doing the rounds of the internet as the FT-1 Concept (2nd image).

On the flip-side, luxury limousine sales continue to fly through the roof. In Europe for example, the limousine segment saw sales of nearly 11,500 units in the second quarter of 2014. Of those units retailed, nearly 5,000 were accounted for by the W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class alone.

Source: Bloomberg and left-lane
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Old 14th November 2014, 14:50   #2
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Default Re: Sports car fad fading away says BMW sales chief

I've thought of this whenever I saw people driving convertibles on TV, that its impossible to have the top down all the time in countries like ours. The pollution levels have also risen to an uncontrollable extent worldwide and that's possibly the reason why the article quotes weather and pollution as some of the reasons.

Another reason could be that a convertible, is a little more than a cruiser bike with windshield. If people do drive with the roof down, storage is reduced by 60% in the boot. Even if the rear has seats, they are usually good for small children in most cases. It was always an impractical choice, only for those who want to a relaxing weekend road cruise.

Somehow though, the companies missed the elephant in the room. The main reason - that of choice. The German brands all make so many models of cars today that this was bound to happen. Lets look at how many there are :

1.Luxury hatch : A car with a hatch, 3 & 5 door variants with identical wheelbase
2.Sports hatch : Available in convertible/normal with sportier driving.
3.Entry sedan : 4 door with priorities focussed on seating comfort & ride
4.Entry sedan with extended wheelbase & hatch type opening
5.Sports sedan : 4 door/coupe with better air-intake, larger turbo and pliant suspension
6.Luxury sedan : Longer than entry sedan, more comforts & luxury
7.Luxury sports coupe : Available in normal & convertible, they are the luxury sedan on roids.
8.Executive sedan : Available in normal and extended wheelbases, they are the flagships of any brand

SUV's aren't even included in these. Luxury brands cannot simply imagine that every new model will spike overall sales. There is bound to be distribution of buyers across the models, in turn lessening individual sales of models that are deemed not-so-practical, i.e convertibles. Its about time they think hard before releasing yet another tweaked model.

Last edited by dark.knight : 14th November 2014 at 14:53. Reason: Typo
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Old 14th November 2014, 17:35   #3
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Default Re: Sports car fad fading away says BMW sales chief

Nice read. Over & above the popularity of SUVs, price inflation is also a major contributor. The Z3 was relatively affordable at the time of its introduction; look at the Z4 now. Similar story with the SLK, TT etc. We've seen it in India too...the C-Class / 3-Series used to be 25 lakh cars. Now, they're nudging 50.

Additionally, I'm certain that 'powerful sedans' have led to a decline of sports cars. In the mid-range, there are quick sedans that can do the 0 - 100 in 5.xx seconds (e.g. 530d). At the top, you have BMW M5s that are more powerful than some Porsches and Merc AMGs that can keep up with Italian exotica. Sedans are twice as practical as 2-door sports cars and not everyone wants something flashy today.
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Old 14th November 2014, 18:24   #4
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Seems it's up to the Japanese again to save the sports car.
Bring on the new Mazda mx 5

Last edited by manson : 14th November 2014 at 19:50. Reason: Typo
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