Audi’s Up, BMW’s Down—Way Down
Latest earnings reports showed that Audi was the big winner in 2008, as we reported. It’s a bit of a shock to learn that BMW profits were down nearly 90% over the past year. Sales were down 37% in the U.S., a 28-year low.
Now why should this be so? The recession aside, I can think of at least two reasons: declining quality and dismal design. There has been an escalation in complaints recently about everything from electronics to transmissions and engine shut-downs. You can read the catalog here and here (regarding dealers, mostly). It’s really an appalling list.
As to design, the company recently introduced the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo (photos, left) at Geneva. They called it “a new look at sporting luxury mobility” that “focuses on providing elegance, space, versatility and supreme comfort in one eye-catching design.” Well, what do you think? I think it’s a beast from any angle, as befits one of Chris Bangle’s last designs.
Taller and longer than the 5 Series on which it’s based, the GT is reportedly close to production—in which case, BMW’s downturn is likely to continue.
Come on, guys/gals, we know you love BMWs, but would you buy one of the company’s new GTs?