When BMW canceled the Series 6 coupé, cabriolet and Gran Coupe, then sold a car like it, in all configurations, but with more luxury at a higher price, the writing should have been on the wall. But dealers are still upset that the current BMW 8 Series does not sell so hot.
Although the 8 Series was never officially a direct successor to the 6 Series, the 6 Series was killed to avoid too much internal competition for what the company hoped to be a new flagship in the 8 Series. The idea was to sell a more luxurious and expensive car and hopefully make more money.
But according to some dealers Automotive news, the 8 Series is not a flagship model to date:
In early March, more than 2,000 8-series vehicles were sitting on or en route to dealership lots in the United States, according to dealer inventory data shared with Automotive News. Of these, more than 700 were “priority 5” – a classification of vehicle dealerships seeking to offload on other retailers.
“It is very concerning and alarming to see that on a halo – a new vehicle – about a third of the total available floor inventory is placed in a priority 5 state,” said another dealer who asked not to be identified. “Basically, the dealers say,” I don’t want this, I can’t sell it, someone takes it from me. “”
The problem with a car so expensive in the field for so long is a question of diminishing returns for the dealer. Not only is it theoretically more difficult to move such an expensive car, because the pool of potential customers who can afford it will be smaller, but it also costs the dealer money to keep it.
Again, according to Auto News:
The 8 Series has the highest offer of any BMW model, dealers say.
“It’s the best car anyone has ever known,” said an American retailer, who asked not to be identified.
BMW has refused to discuss dealer complaints and does not provide information on the costs of marketing the products or inventory.
But dealers are not too keen to sit on this high inventory. The sticker on 2020 models exceeds $ 155,000. Interest expense on each Series 8 is $ 400 to $ 500 per month, said another broker.
“It’s heavy metal that no one wants to wear,” he said.
Another problem here, Auto News points out, is that the 8 series is available in up to 15 different configurations, which leads dealers to order more models to offer various configurations to potential customers. Fewer configurations would potentially mean less inventory. This is no longer a problem with the dealer’s inventory model, and not exactly with BMW who wants to offer too many options.
Some analysts believe that the sales problem comes down to marketing and advertising, and to competition from the new three-row X7 crossover that BMW was clearly more interested in pushing to customers:
The 8 Series was launched around the same time as the X7 crossover, a vehicle “of monumental importance” to BMW, said Ed Kim, an analyst at AutoPacific.
With limited marketing budgets, automakers tend to direct their advertising firepower toward high-demand crossovers.
“The X7 is an incremental product in the BMW lineup that competes in a highly contested field,” said Kim. “Whereas the 8 Series, as a coupe, has an inherently short shelf life. “
After its rebirth in 2018, the 8 Series only moved 4,410 cars last year. This is not a good first year, and it would indicate that there is not too much interest in the flagship – a problem that marketing could potentially solve. Especially at a time of a relatively strong economy, at least until recently.
When the second generation of the 6 series debuted in 2004, sold over 8,000 cars four years in a row, and then sold over 8,000 cars again four years later from 2012 to 2015 on the back of an updated third generation model.
Perhaps the switch from “more sophisticated Series 5” to that of “Class S competitor” was not the right one. And in the face of economic disaster and no end in view of a global virus pandemic, it is impossible to think that the 8 Series will have a strong year 2020.
Maybe BMW should save this big marketing push until people can leave their homes again.